More than a dozen arrests were made on Thursday by DEA and local officials across Washington for drug trafficking.
On Thursday, 14 different locations and multiple vehicles were searched state wide. Law enforcement seized two pounds of crystal methamphetamine, heroin, two weapons, six vehicles and over $20,000 in cash.
Grays Harbor Sheriff Rick Scott told KXRO that the Sheriff’s Office assisted the DEA on Thursday in the execution of two search warrants in Aberdeen. Four men were taken into custody, and approximately two pounds of methamphetamine and a firearm were seized. This investigation resulted in the single largest seizure of heroin ever occurring in Grays Harbor County and the dismantlement of a drug trafficking organization responsible for supplying heroin throughout the Olympic Peninsula.
The drug trafficking ring distributed large amounts of methamphetamine and heroin from Mexico to Washington. The criminal organization spanned a large area of the state with operations ranging from Aberdeen to the Tri-Cities, and from Everett to Vancouver. Law enforcement has seized more than 56 pounds of heroin and more than eight pounds of highly pure methamphetamine during the investigation.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Matthew G. Barnes said “Seizures of heroin are on the rise in the Pacific Northwest. This investigation alone prevented 4 million user doses of heroin from hitting our streets, ruining lives and giving drug dealers over $1 million dollars in profits.”
Using wire taps, law enforcement intercepted hundreds if not thousands of phone calls and text messages starting in September 2012 related to drug trafficking. The investigation began in October 2011, and identified members of the criminal organization smuggling drugs from Mexico across the border into Texas and California, and then north to Washington. In two seizures earlier this year, law enforcement found two kilograms of suspected crystal methamphetamine hidden in paint cans in the back of a truck stopped on Interstate 84 in Oregon.
A second stop in Aberdeen in February resulted in the seizure of more than 53 pounds of heroin. During a search, investigators located and removed suspected heroin inside of the gas tank. Each package of heroin was covered in mustard and red pepper in an attempt to mask the smell of the heroin from drug detection canines.
The grand jury has indicted these defendants:
Jose Manuel Pardo-Martinez, 32, of Aberdeen, Washington
Esgardo Daniel Martinez-Pizano, 18, of Aberdeen, Washington
Victor Carmona-Tapia, 28, of Everett, Washington
Omar Valencia-Barajas, 24, of Everett, Washington
Antonio Zuniga-Barajas, 29 of Kennewick, Washington
Javier Zuniga-Ochoa, 50, Kennewick, Washington
Enrique Orozco-Rojas, 37, Kennewick, Washington
Braulio Zuniga-Cervantes, 30, of Kent, Washington
Jose Trinidad Cuevas-Mendoza, 32, of Monroe, Washington
Pedro Barragan-Valdovinos, 39, of Pasco, Washington
Omar Huerta-Garcia, 29, of Pasco, Washington
Hector M. Hernandez-Hernandez, 36, of Vancouver, Washington
Alberto Bernal-Rodriguez, 43, of Vancouver, Washington
If convicted the defendants face a mandatory minimum ten years in prison because of the quantity of drugs involved.
This investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration with significant investigative contributions from ICE – Homeland Security Investigations, Grays Harbor Drug Task Force, South Snohomish County Narcotics Task Force, King County Sheriff’s Office, Seattle Police Department, Port of Seattle, Tri-Cities Metro Drug Task Force, and Washington State Patrol.