News and Press Releases

METHAMPHETAMINE TRAFFICKING RING INDICTED – FEDS AND LOCALS PARTNER FOR MAJOR ARRESTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2005

ALEJANDRO CHAVARRIA-ROMO, 29, of Salem, Oregon and BALDEMAR MARTINEZ-AVILA, 38, of Portland, Oregon were indicted today by a Federal Grand Jury in Seattle for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, Possession of Methamphetamine With Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Methamphetamine. The two were arrested in Vancouver, WA on May 6, 2005 by members of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Camas, Washington Police Department, and the Clark-Skamania Drug Task Force.

The joint investigation began in January 2005, when law enforcement was able to introduce an undercover DEA agent to ALEJANDRO CHAVARRIA-ROMO in Vancouver, Washington. In recorded conversations CHAVARRIA-ROMO bragged about the quality of his methamphetamine, his multiple distributors, and the volume of methamphetamine he could distribute. According to the indictment, on February 3, 2005 CHAVARRIA-ROMO and MARTINEZ-AVILA sold the undercover agent a quarter pound of methamphetamine for $3,000. The sale occurred in the parking lot of a Vancouver Target store. Tests of the methamphetamine showed it was 93% pure.

The undercover agent negotiated a second sale of four pounds of methamphetamine for $42,000. The conspirators were seen putting the drugs into their car in an Oregon parking lot. Both men were arrested when they arrived at the Target parking lot in Vancouver to complete the sale.

CHAVARRIA-ROMO and MARTINEZ-AVILA are believed to have been part of a distribution organization, spanning from California to Washington, and involving the distribution of many pounds of methamphetamine. Approximately 12 pounds of methamphetamine and over a pound of cocaine have been seized by law enforcement thus far in the investigation. The investigation is continuing and additional arrests and charges are anticipated.

"The amount of methamphetamine seized is one of the largest on record for the southern Washington region," stated DEA Special Agent in Charge (SAC), Rodney G. Benson. "Methamphetamine continues to be a major focus of the DEA in southern Washington and the DEA will continue to work side by side with local, state and federal partners to target these drug traffickers that peddle their deadly poison."

CHAVARRIA-ROMO and MARTINEZ-AVILA will be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on May 19, 2005. If convicted of the charges the men face a mandatory period of imprisonment of not less than 10 years and up to life imprisonment. An indictment contains allegations that have not yet been proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case was investigated by DEA, Camas, Washington Police Department, Vancouver, Washington Police Department, and the Clark-Skamania Drug Task Force with assistance from the Portland Police Bureau and Clackamas County (OR) Sheriff's Office.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ronald J. Friedman. For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington at (206) 553-4110.

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