News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2009
Contact: Jodie Underwood
Number: (206) 553-5443

Sixteen Arrested in Small Town America Drug Trafficking Ring
Drug Trafficking Conspiracy Based In Skagit County

JAN 16 -- (Seattle) – DEA Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Arnold R. Moorin and the United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington, Jeffrey Sullivan, announced that on January 16, 2009 , sixteen people were arrested following a year long investigation of a drug distribution conspiracy centered in Skagit County , Washington . It is alleged that the drug ring smuggled pound quantities of heroin and five to ten kilograms of cocaine per month into the United States .

Law enforcement searched five residences and seized approximately five pounds of heroin, two pounds of cocaine, $23,000 in cash, seven vehicles and two firearms. Eight of the defendants have been indicted by a federal grand jury and seven others detained are facing either charges in Skagit County Superior Court of immigration proceedings. One defendant likely will be processed as a juvenile. Investigators utilized court authorized wire taps and confidential sources to infiltrate the organization as it recruited people to transport cocaine from Tijuana , Baja , California , Mexico into the United States .

The defendants have been indicted by a federal grand jury:

Alfonso Gutierrez-Orozco, a/k/a “Saul”, 25, of Mount Vernon , Washington ,
Fernando Hernandez-Salazar, a/k/a “Tino”, 20, of Mount Vernon , Washington ,
Abel Orozco-Gutierrez, a/k/a “Kalvin”, 34, of Tacoma , Washington ,
Joel Vasquez-Vasquez, 21, of Mount Vernon , Washington ,
Luis Miguel Campos-Alvarado, 18, of Mount Vernon , Washington ,
Samuel Vaca-Garcia, 26, of Bellingham , Washington ,
Jessie Smith, 26, of Sedro Woolley , Washington ,
Tammy Zorotovich, 39, of Bellingham , Washington

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Skagit County Interlocal Drug Enforcement Unit which consists of officers from Washington State Patrol, Skagit County Sheriff’s Office and Anacortes Police Department. These additional agencies assisted in the investigation: U.S Customs and Border Protection, Mount Vernon Police Department, the National Guard, Bellingham Police Department, and the Northwest Regional Drug Task Force.