News and Press Releases

YAKIMA RESIDENT INDICTED IN COCAINE DISTRIBUTION CONSPIRACY
Mexican National Arrested in California with 8 Kilos of Cocaine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2009

JESUS ALBERTO LUNA-LARA, 30, of Yakima, Washington, was arraigned today in U.S. District Court in Seattle on a charge of Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances. LUNA-LARA was arrested in California on January 26, 2009, as he drove home to Washington with 8 kilos of cocaine in his car. LUNA-LARA is one of seven people who have been indicted as part of a drug distribution ring operating in east King County. In June 2008, the Eastside Narcotics Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began investigating the ring as part of “Operation Park and Ride.” The investigation took its name from the fact that drug deals were occurring at transit Park and Ride lots. In some instances, the drug ring leader had his drug customers park in various eastside neighborhoods and walk around, waiting for the drug distributor to pick the customer up and supply the drugs.

The investigation began in June with a confidential informant making multiple drug purchases of heroin from the organization. Using court authorized wire taps, investigators were able to determine the members and activities of the drug conspirators.

These defendants were arrested last month as well:

Lucio Camarillo Jr., 25, of Yakima, in custody at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac
Alejandro Cisneros-Medina, 18, of Kent, in custody at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac
Romeo Lopez de la Luz, 39, of Tukwila in custody at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac
Michael Chinn, 49, of Seattle, was released on conditions
Kurt Preugschat, 34, of Redmond was released on conditions
Michael McConaghy, 25, of Tacoma, was released on conditions

The defendants have entered pleas of “Not Guilty.” Trial is scheduled for April 6, 2009, in front of U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman.

The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. DEA Special Agent in Charge Arnold R. Moorin said, “This successful investigative accomplishment is a direct reflection of the coalitions established between our state and local partners and DEA. We are acutely aware that this type of effort is essential to effectively combat drug trafficking in our communities.”

“This was an excellent example of team work and cooperation between the East Side Narcotics Task Force and the DEA,” said East Side Narcotics Task Force Commander Steve Lynch. “We commend the investigators and supervisors involved in this operation for their dedication and professionalism. The success of this case was directly related to the mutual hard work and collaboration of the respected case agent and detectives and we could not be prouder of these men and women.”

The case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Eastside Narcotics Task Force (ENTF). The East Side Narcotics Task Force is comprised of Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond and Mercer Island Police Departments and the King County Sheriff's Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark Parrent.

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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