Traffickers Arrested in Seattle and Medellin, Colombia
John M. Bott, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Seattle Field Division and John McKay, United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington announced today that DEA agents in Seattle and Colombia have arrested the last two of eleven defendants charged in Seattle with participating in an international narcotics trafficking organization. The organization's activities occurred in Seattle, New York City, and Colombia. Additional indictments have been filed in New York City.
Earlier today, DEA
agents and Colombian National Police arrested GONZALO HENAO-EUSSE, a Colombian
national, in Medellin, Colombia. The United States Attorney's Office will
seek to have HENAO-EUSSE detained pending extradition for trial in Seattle.
Also today, DEA agents in Seattle arrested FERNANDO AREAS-MARIN, age 38,
of Kent, Washington. AREAS-MARIN was arraigned today in federal district
court in Seattle and entered a plea of not guilty. A detention hearing
for AREAS-MARIN will be held next week. Eight others were arrested and
arraigned in the Seattle area last week: ALFONSO ALLAN BROOKS, age 32,
of Covington, Washington; DAVID HAROLD THOMAS, age 58, of Seattle; ROBERTO
CHAVEZ-NUNEZ, age 29, of Marysville, Washington; JAIME FLORES-ROSALES,
age 48, of Seattle; SAUL RUIZ-JAIMEZ, age 36, of Seattle; RONALD LOUIS
HARBIN, age 54, of Federal Way, Washington; JUAN CERVANTES-CASTANEDA,
age 37, of Burien, Washington; and DIANA LOURDES ELY, of Mountlake Terrace,
Washington. In addition, FELIX SANTIAGO-CASTIBLANCO, of New York City,
was arrested Monday in New York.
On July 23, 2003, a Grand Jury in the Western District of Washington returned a one-count Indictment charging the eleven defendants named above with Conspiracy to Distribute more than one kilogram of Heroin and more than five kilograms of Cocaine. The offense is punishable by a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of ten years and up to life, a fine of up to four million dollars, a term of supervised release of at least five years, and a special assessment of one hundred dollars. Two of the Seattle defendants have been released on bond pending trial, which was set for October, 2003.
Twenty-one search warrants were executed by agents and officers at various residences and vehicles throughout the Puget Sound area on Monday, August 4, 2003. During this long-term investigation, agents and officers in Seattle seized both heroin and cocaine, as well as ecstasy, methamphetamine, marijuana, currency, and three firearms. Additional heroin seizures were made in New York, Chicago, and British Colombia. It is alleged that members of this trafficking ring imported heroin into the United States from South and Central America, and then distributed it in the Puget Sound region and New York City. In addition, they procured and distributed cocaine and other controlled substances in the Seattle area.
The Indictment is based on the joint efforts of law enforcement agencies from all over North and South America, and is an example of successful cooperation among federal, state, and local agencies. The investigation was initiated over two years ago by the New York Police Department, and was joined by agents, investigators, and officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration in Seattle, New York, Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico; Seattle Police Department; King County Sheriff's Office; Eastside Narcotics Task Force; Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Blaine, Seattle, and Chicago; the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations in Seattle; Canadian Customs; and the Colombian National Police. The investigation was funded in part by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCFDETF) program. Valuable assistance was also provided by the Snohomish Regional Narcotics Task Force and the United States Marshals Service. Assistant United States Attorneys Sarah Vogel and Todd Greenberg are prosecuting the case in Seattle. The New York defendants will be prosecuted by the City of New York Office of Special Narcotics and the Bronx District Attorney's Office.
Members of the public are reminded that an Indictment contains only a charge. The defendants are presumed innocent of the charge and it will be the government's burden to prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
For further information
please contact Thomas P.O'Brien, DEA Seattle Field Division Public Information
Officer at 509-353-2906 or John Hartingh, Executive Assistant United States
Attorney, at (206) 553-4110.