News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2009
Contact: Jodie Underwood
Number: (206) 553-5443

Aberdeen Car Dealer Sentenced to 46 Months for Role in Drug Conspiracy

JUN 24 -- (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 Robert Blanchard was sentenced yesterday in U.S District Court to 46 months in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute marijuana. Blanchard was arrested in April 2008 following an extensive DEA and local law enforcement investigation of the Barragan drug trafficking organization operating in South Puget Sound and Southwest Washington. Blanchard was a trusted distributor of marijuana for the organization.

In April 2008, more than 300 law enforcement officers served 20 search warrants and seized 20 pounds of methamphetamine – bringing the total for the 14-month investigation to 89 pounds. Agents seized 50 firearms and $255,000 in cash. One of the leaders of the Barragan crime family, Epifanio Barragan-Estrada was sentenced earlier this year to ten years in prison and five years supervised release.

Blanchard agreed to forfeit $15,000 to the U.S following the sale of his used car lot property in Hoquiam, Washington. In addition, Blanchard is forfeiting all the firearms seized at his home to include: a 9 mm Makarov handgun; a Savage .32 caliber pistol; a Astera .22 caliber handgun; a Colt .38 Special revolver; a High Standard .22 caliber pistol; a British Long Branch rifle with scope; a Revelation .410 shotgun; and a Savage .270 rifle. 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, Tacoma Police Department, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, Puyallup Police Department, Bonney Lake Police Department, Auburn Police Department, Washington Department of Corrections, Pierce County Prosecutors Office, Thurston County Sheriff’s Department, Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Department, Lakewood Police Department and Northwest HIDTA. Additionally, the following agencies contributed to this law enforcement effort: U.S Marshal’s Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Pacific County Sheriff’s Department, Columbia River Drug Task Force, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, Wahkiakum County Sheriff’s Office, Kelso Police Department, Longview Police Department, Woodland Police Department, Tumwater Police Department, Lacey Police Department, Olympia Police Department, Aberdeen Police Department, Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team, Fife Police Department, and Missoula HIDTA.