King County Sheriff’s Office K9 with seized drugs. COURTESY PHOTO, King County Sheriff’s Office

King County Sheriff’s Office K9 with seized drugs. COURTESY PHOTO, King County Sheriff’s Office

Investigators bust drug trafficking operation in King County

Thousands of fentanyl pills reportedly were kept at a Federal Way storage facility.

After almost a year of monitoring and several months of active investigation by the King County Sheriff’s Office, three men were arrested on May 2 and charged May 6 for their alleged involvement in drug trafficking in South King County.

Arrests occurred just in time as the subjects were seen clearing out two different stash locations with black trash bags, including a storage unit in Federal Way, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Valentin Garcia Lazcano (aka Valentin Lazcanogarcia), 37, of Des Moines, and Miguel A. Hernandez Domingo (aka Miguel A. Hernandez), 32, of Des Moines, are both accused of possession with intent to deliver for fentanyl, heroin, meth and cocaine, according to charging documents. Jose Ignacio Pelaez (aka Jose Ignacio Peleaz aka Jose Ignacio Pelaez), 33, of Burien, is accused of possession with intent to deliver fentanyl. These charges are accusations and part of ongoing cases. The defendants are innocent until proven guilty.

A fourth individual was stopped on April 28 after a trip to Phoenix, Arizona, and was found to have 145,000 “M30” fentanyl pills and approximately 2 kilograms of fentanyl powder in his vehicle, according to charging documents. This individual is named Jeremy Moreno Gonzalez and the charging documents also state that he, Garcia Lazcano and Hernandez Domingo were all “working together to further narcotic distribution in the area.”

No charges have been filed against Moreno Gonzalez, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

After monitoring multiple apartments and tracking vehicles for the past several months, investigators reportedly identified the storage unit in Federal Way, in the 35200 block of Pacific Highway South, as part of the drug trafficking operation. They noticed an increase in activity at the storage unit after the large seizure of narcotics on April 28. In order to confirm that the unit was indeed a stash location for narcotics, on May 2, a detective brought a K-9 dog to search the storage facility.

The K-9 alerted investigators at the storage unit that had been separately determined to be a likely stash location connected to the drug trafficking operation.

Before the detectives left the storage facility, suspects Miguel A. Hernandez Domingo and Valentin Garcia Lazcano arrived. They reportedly entered the storage facility and after some time, exited with a large black trash bag and a power tool box. That bag was determined to contain approximately 95,000 fentanyl pills and two bricks of fentanyl powder.

Detectives arrested the two individuals and completed their filing of search warrants for related vehicles and apartments connected to the trafficking activity.

As they were waiting for the search warrants to be approved, they learned that a third individual had arrived at one of the related apartments. Jose Ignacio Pelaez was reportedly then seen removing a black trash bag from the apartment that was found to contain approximately 12,773 fentanyl pills and cash.

Ignacio Pelaez was subsequently arrested and searches were completed on the storage unit, the apartments, the vehicles and on the arrested individuals person. A total of approximately $2 million of narcotics were recovered in all as well as cash and false identification documents.

Charges were rush filed after their arrest for multiple counts of possession with intent to deliver.

All three are being held on high bail amounts and arraignments are scheduled for May 20 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

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