News and Press Releases

LEADER OF SNOHOMISH/KING COUNTY DRUG RING GETS TEN YEAR TERM
Husband, Wife and Sister-in-law All Sentenced to Prison in Connection with
Family Drug Distribution Organization

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2006

JOSE GALINDO-ZURITA, 35, of Seattle, Washington was sentenced today to ten years in prison and five years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine and Heroin. GALINDO-ZURITA and nine others were arrested in June 2006 and charged with operating a drug conspiracy distributing heroin and cocaine in North King County and South Snohomish County. During a lengthy court authorized wiretap investigation, GALINDO-ZURITA was heard making drug deals over the phone and directing “runners” to deliver the drugs. Between September, 2005, and April, 2006, on at least 13 separate occasions, Galindo-Zurita negotiated the sales of a total of approximately 1,967.35 gross grams of heroin to an undercover detective. In addition to the lengthy sentence GALINDO-ZURITA will forfeit approximately $330,000 and a 2006 Silverado SUV to the government.

GALINDO-ZURITA’s wife and sister-in-law were also sentenced today in connection with the drug conspiracy. JUANA GARCIA-RODRIGUEZ, 24, of Gresham, Oregon (GALINDO-ZURITA’s wife) was sentenced to 18 months in prison for Money Laundering. GARCIA-RODRIGUEZ admitted she walked into a Renton car dealership with $40,000 of drug proceeds in a paper bag to purchase the Silverado SUV. JADE MEDINA-PARRA, 19, of Seattle, Washington (GARCIA-RODRIGUEZ’s sister) was sentenced to eighteen months in prison for her role as a drug and money delivery driver in the drug conspiracy. All three defendants likely will be deported following their prison terms.

In sentencing GARCIA-RODRIGUEZ, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez noted that drug conspiracies such as this one “are not able to succeed without people to launder the money.” He rejected a defense request to go below the guidelines range for GARCIA-RODRIGUEZ.

Nine members of the conspiracy were arrested in early morning raids on June 21, 2006. All have entered guilty pleas. The sentencing dates for the remaining defendants are listed below:

MARCELA RODRIGUEZ-ZURITA, 33, Edmonds, Washington will be sentenced 1/19/07
KAREN CREECH, 47, Shoreline, Washington will be sentenced 1/5/07
RHONDA SCHWEITZER, 48, Edmonds, Washington will be sentenced 1/5/07
JEFFREY DAVID FRENCH, 45, Edmonds, Washington will be sentenced 1/19/07
MARY HANDY, 37, Stanwood, Washington will be sentenced 2/16/07
TERRY TODD RAYMOND, 45, Poulsbo, Washington will be sentenced 1/12/07

The drug organization was the subject of a lengthy investigation including undercover drug purchases, and court-authorized wiretaps. Investigators monitored thousands of calls where drug dealers and customers spoke in code, ordered drugs, tested drugs for ring leaders, and arranged drug sales to others.

In the course of the investigation of this and a related drug ring, law enforcement arrested a total of more than twenty people, seized several pounds of heroin, more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, 200 grams of meth, fourteen vehicles (two equipped with hidden compartments) and as much as $400,000 in cash.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, with supplemental federal funding provided to the federal and state agencies involved. The case was investigated by agents and officers of the DEA , the South Snohomish County Narcotics Task Force (which includes detectives from the cities of Edmonds, Lynnwood, and Mountlake Terrace, and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department), the Washington State Department of Corrections, and the Washington State Patrol. The investigation was assisted by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the United States Marshal’s Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Vogel.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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