TACOMA, WASH.– Jose Manuel Campos Pineda, 34, of Spanaway, Washington was sentenced last week to ten years in prison and five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute heroin. Pineda was indicted along with 25 other defendants as part of “Project Deliverance,” a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) led investigation of a heroin trafficking ring that delivered large amounts of heroin and methamphetamine from the Mexican cartels to street level customers in the Tacoma area.
According to records filed in the case, the organization used various runners working with a ‘dispatcher’ to get drugs into the hands of customers. Drug customers from Lewis, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston and Grays Harbor Counties would call and order drugs. They would be given an intersection within a six square mile area of south Tacoma where they were to park. The dispatcher would take a description of the customer’s car and conduct the drug deal in a residential neighborhood. Hundreds of thousands of dollars, proceeds of the drug trade, was shipped to Mexico in hidden compartments built into vehicles. In the course of the 13-month investigation, authorities seized more than 80 pounds of heroin, $400,000 in cash, four firearms, and more than four pounds of methamphetamine. Pineda and the other defendants were arrested June 9, 2010.
In asking for the lengthy prison term, prosecutors noted that Pineda trafficked black tar heroin – one of the drugs that has fueled cartel violence. According to the U.S. State Department, there have been 22,700 narcotics-related murders in Mexico since 2006, as Mexican cartels battle to decide who will control the supply of drugs, such as black tar heroin, into the United States. At sentencing, Pineda was found by the court to be the leader of the organization, and the one arranging for the drugs to be transported into the Pacific Northwest. Pineda is a Mexican national who will be deported following his prison term.
The investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Grays Harbor Drug Task Force, Lakewood Police Department and Thurston County Narcotics Task Force. 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 Office, Puyallup Police Department, Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Tacoma Police Department, Washington State Patrol and Washington State Department of Corrections.