News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 11, 2010
Contact: Jodie Underwood
Number: (206) 553-5443

Over 65 Pounds of Heroin Seized in South Sound Raids
23 Arrested in ‘Dial for Dope’ Criminal Organization

Over 65 Pounds of Heroin Seized in South Sound Raids JUN 11 -- (Seattle) – A Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) led task force and members of the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force, Grays Harbor Task Force and the Lakewood Police Department arrested twenty-three people and seized more than 65 pounds of black tar heroin on June 9, 2010.    This massive coordinated effort was part of a national effort dubbed “Project Deliverance” that targeted the transportation infrastructure of Mexican drug trafficking organizations in the United States.

“Project Deliverance targeted the Mexican-based criminal organizations responsible for transporting and distributing large quantities of drugs in this area and in many other parts of the U.S.,” said Mark Thomas, DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge.  “Today the actions of the DEA, U.S. Attorney, and our law enforcement partners resulted in the seizure of over 65 pounds of heroin.  This is a cogent public safety step since it prevents several million user doses of heroin from poisoning our community.” 

Over 65 Pounds of Heroin Seized in South Sound Raids According to records filed in the case, the organization used various drug runners who were working with a ‘dispatcher’ to deliver the drugs to customers from Lewis, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston and Grays Harbor counties.  The customer would call the dispatcher who would direct him/her to a location within a six square mile area of south Tacoma.  At the time of the meet, the drug runner’s car would drive slowly past the customer’s car signaling the customer to follow.  The cars would proceed into a residential neighborhood in an attempt to identify surveillance and ultimately make the transaction.  Vehicles with hidden compartments were utilized to ship hundreds of thousands of drug proceeds to Mexico.  Over the past few weeks, two vehicles were stopped and nearly $100,000 was seized. 

In the course of the thirteen month investigation, and during enforcement operations yesterday, authorities seized more than 80 pounds of heroin, over $270,000 in cash, 4 firearms, and more than four pounds of methamphetamine.

Twenty-three people were arrested yesterday, either indicted by a grand jury or charged by criminal complaint.  Those arrested include:

            Jose Campos-Pineda, 33, of Spanaway,
            Margarito Lemus-Estrada, 33, of Tacoma,
            Ramon Hernandez-Gomez, 29, of Lakewood,
            Mario Gonzalez Rubio-Garcia, 24, of Tacoma,
            Alberto Flores-Ramirez, 23, of Tacoma,
            Miguel Angel Ventura, 28, of Tacoma,
            Nelson Villegas-Martinez, 38, of Tacoma,
            Juan Reyes-Soto, 39, of Tacoma,
            Javier Jasso-Rios, 32, of Puyallup,
            Ofelia Ramirez, 54, of Tacoma,
            Alicia Alvarez, 33, of Tacoma,
            Calypso Mares, 37, of Tacoma,
            Hirbit Pena-Garcia, 27, of Lakewood,
            Raquel Garcia-Espinoza, 47, of Tacoma,
            Sergio Omar Valencia-Garcia, 33, of Tacoma,
            Elizabeth Salazar, 31, of Tacoma,
            Antonio Lemus-Madrigal, 31, of Tacoma,
            Luis Aguilar, of Tacoma,
            Aerlis Daisy Mejia, 27, of Portland, Oregon,
            Saul Murillo-Prado, 36, of Portland, Oregon,
            Alfonso Contreras-Lopez, 38, of Tacoma,
            Marro Antonio Posse-Castro, 28, of Tacoma,
            Javier Lopez-Rivas, 33, of Tacoma

An indictment or a complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

Over 65 Pounds of Heroin Seized in South Sound Raids The investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Thurston County Narcotics Task Force, Grays Harbor Drug Task Force, and the Lakewood Police Department.  The following agencies provided substantial assistance: Auburn Police Department, Bonney Lake Police Department, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Fife Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office, Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, Puyallup Police Department, Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Tacoma Police Department, Washington State Patrol and Washington State Department of Corrections.