News and Press Releases

Defendant one of 43 now charged in connection with Drug Organization Based in Mexico

December 14, 2006


ISIDRO MENDOZA-MEDINA, 29, of Sedro-Woolley, Washington was arrested Tuesday evening, December 12, 2006 after allegedly selling methamphetamine to a law enforcement confidential source. MENDOZA-MEDINA was carrying a pound of methamphetamine in his waistband. A search of the Sedro-Woolley residence on Wednesday, December 13, 2006, where MENDOZA-MEDINA had been staying turned up an additional 13 pounds of methamphetamine. This arrest is just the latest in a two year investigation of a sophisticated drug-trafficking organization based in Sinaloa, Mexico. The organization was transporting drugs to Skagit County.

On December 1, 2006, agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Skagit County Interlocal Drug Enforcement Unit (SCIDEU) served 19 search warrants and arrested 26 people in connection with the investigation. In all 43 people now face federal charges in connection with the case. Two new defendants, EDGAR RUIZ VALDEZ, 20, and CRISANTO VIVANCO MADRIGAL 25, are in the Skagit County Jail awaiting arraignment on federal charges. A third new defendant, ROGELIO ALVAREZ-USUA, 33, was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona, and will be transported to the Western District of Washington on charges related to the drug conspiracy.

MENDOZA-MEDINA now faces charges of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute, and Possession of Methamphetamine.

The conspirators in this large drug ring are charged with distributing heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. If convicted some face mandatory minimum terms of ten years in prison, up to life in prison. Some of the defendants sold heroin to undercover agents on multiple occasions. Members of the drug organization sold guns as well as drugs to undercover officers. Other defendants transported money from Skagit County that was destined for Mexico. Using court authorized wiretaps in Washington and Arizona, investigators monitored the ring’s activities for over four months.

An indictment contains allegations that have not yet been proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt.

This is an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The case was investigated by the DEA, Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco & Explosives (ATF), Skagit County Interlocal Drug Enforcment Unit (SCIDEU), the Washington State Patrol (WSP), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Northwest Regional Drug Task Force (NWRDTF), the Skagit County Sheriff’s Department, the Burlington Police Department and the Mount Vernon Police Department.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys John J. Lulejian, Douglas B. Whalley and Leonie G. H. Grant.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Jeff Eig, Public Information Officer for the DEA at (206) 553-1411.

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