News and Press Releases

Repeat Offender Led Group Bringing Multiple Pounds of Methamphetamine to Northwest

February 23, 2009

NAHUM COPADO-NIETO, a/k/a Alaquin, 37, of Auburn, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 18 years in prison and 5 years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine. COPADO-NIETO pleaded guilty in October 2008. COPADO-NIETO was arrested in May 2008, following a lengthy wiretap investigation of a criminal group bringing large quantities of methamphetamine to Western Washington from Mexico. At sentencing U.S. District Judge James L. Robart said, “This is a giant methamphetamine conspiracy, and the overwhelming evidence is that this defendant was the linchpin for the conspiracy.” In imposing such a lengthy prison sentence, Judge Robart noted that the conspiracy engaged in a “pattern of poisoning the community by supplying large quantities of methamphetamine.”

According to documents filed in the case, investigators were able to track the delivery of ten pounds of methamphetamine in the Seattle area, and arrested the drug courier with more than $250,000 hidden in a secret compartment of the vehicle. COPADO-NIETO was arrested after a different courier was stopped with nine pounds of methamphetamine transported from California to Washington by bus. This methamphetamine was analyzed and found to contain 99.4% pure methamphetamine. Inside COPADO-NIETO’s residence agents found nearly a pound of meth and more than $44,000 cash.

Three other defendants have already been sentenced in the case: Felipe De La Torre-Zarate was sentenced today to 87 months in prison, Francisco Suarez-Gallegos was sentenced Friday to 63 months in prison, and Cristian Avila-Ornelas was sentenced February 9, 2009, to three years in prison. All three are Mexican Nationals who will be deported following their prison terms. One additional defendant has entered a guilty plea and is awaiting sentencing, the other is scheduled for trial in April 2009.

This was 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 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Seattle Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lisca Borichewski.

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

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