News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 10, 2009
Contact: Jodie Underwood
Number: (206) 553-5443

Last Three Defendants in Large West Coast Meth Ring Plead Guilty

DEC 10 -- ( Seattle) - Abraham Barragan-Zepeda, 48, of Shasta Lake, California; Fernando Barragan-Zepeda, 34, of Aberdeen, Washington; and Rigoberto Garfias-Barragan, 37, of Shasta Lake, California, all pleaded guilty on Monday, December 7, 2009 before United States District Judge Benjamin H. Settle in the Western District of Washington to various charges, including conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, illegal use of a communication facility, and possession of firearms by an illegal alien.  These men are the last of 26 members of a large west coast methamphetamine distribution ring to plead guilty.

This case was an extensive, joint investigation led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Washington, California, and Oregon.

According to the Assistant United States Attorneys prosecuting the case in the Western District of Washington and the Eastern District of California, the Barragan family ran a long-term methamphetamine distribution operation.  They brought hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine from Artega, Mexico, through California to Western Washington.  They regularly used the home of Rigoberto Garfias-Barragan in Northern California as a “stash house” for drugs.

 The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Settle on March 8, 2010, at 1:30 p.m. They face a maximum statutory penalty of 40 years in prison, a $2,000,000 fine, and a four-year-to-life term of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.  The maximum statutory penalty for the illegal use of a communication facility is four years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a one-year term of supervised release for each count.  Possession of firearms by an illegal alien carries the maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a three-year term of supervised release.  The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables and any applicable statutory sentencing factors.

 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 Prosecutor’s Office, Thurston County Sheriff’s Department, Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Department, and the Lakewood Police Department.  Additionally these agencies contributed to this law enforcement effort: US 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, Northwest HIDTA and Missoula HIDTA.