Two Kent men and a Renton man were among the dozen people indicted Wednesday, June 30 for drug trafficking.
Twelve people are in custody following a second round of arrests in an investigation involving armed drug trafficking, said Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman in an U.S. Department of Justice news release. The indictments and arrests are a follow-up to the April 7 takedown involving 24 defendants. Most of those arrested will appear in U.S. District Court in Seattle and Tacoma on Wednesday afternoon.
“Even after the arrest of 24 defendants in April, law enforcement pursued the higher-level sources of the drugs that were distributed in our community,” Gorman said. “I am pleased that prosecutors in our office and law enforcement officers continued to work up the chain of this trafficking organization making large drug seizures and taking guns off the street.”
Kent residents Cresencio Moreno Aguirre, 41, and Cesar Arambula, 39, were indicted along with Samuel Duarte Avila, 47, of Renton.
“Over the course of two years, more than 250 FBI employees have contributed to this investigation to fight back against this widespread drug-dealing conspiracy,” said Donald M. Voiret, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Seattle Field Office. “I am incredibly proud of the hard work of my office and our partners to remove dozens of firearms and toxic drugs such as fentanyl and cocaine from our communities.”
During the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized 84 firearms, including stolen firearms and ghost guns, 16 kilos of cocaine and about 50,000 fentanyl tainted pills. In one traffic stop in January 2021 on Interstate 5, they allegedly seized 6 kilos of cocaine that Arambula was bringing back from Southern California.
In all, law enforcement has seized more than $1 million in cash. They also seized a pill press used for manufacturing fentanyl tainted pills, three pounds of methamphetamine and some heroin.
On June 30, officers seized 48 guns, 2 kilograms of cocaine, 2 pounds of methamphetamine, several thousand fentanyl pills and two illegal marijuana grows. An additional $120,000 cash was also seized.
“The recent rise of violent crime – specifically crimes involving the trafficking of firearms and illegal drugs – is of great concern to the Seattle Police Department, which is why the SPD values its partnerships with federal and local law enforcement agencies,” said Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz. “By working together, we increase our ability to arrest dangerous offenders, get them off our streets, and weapons out of their hands.”
The investigation was led by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force with key participation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Seattle Police Gang and Narcotics Units, Homeland Security Investigation (HSI), and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
The arrests and searches on June 30 involved teams from FBI, DEA, Seattle Police Department, HSI, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, King County Sheriff’s Office, Valley SWAT, Kent Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), and Narcotics/Currency/Firearms K9 support from Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Centralia Police Department, Auburn Police Department, Renton Police Department, King County Sheriff’s Office and Tacoma Police Department.
“Not only are these dozens of suspects off the streets, but so are dangerous narcotics, including fentanyl tablets and the tools to manufacture them,” Diaz said. “Our communities have been devastated by a recent rise in fentanyl deaths and continue to be devastated by on-going gun violence. The SPD is certain these joint efforts saved lives, and we’re gratified the many months of hard work by our officers and partners paid off.”