AUBURN RESIDENT SENTENCED TO TEN YEARS IN PRISON FOR MANAGING DRUG DISTRIBUTION RING
Distributed Kilo Sized Quantities of Cocaine from South Seattle Apartment
JAVIER GASTELUM-INZUNZA, 29, of Auburn, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to ten years in prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine. GASTELUM-INZUNZA was arrested in May 2008, as part of “Operation Pink Tiger.” The operation took it’s name from the original target of the probe who went by the nickname “Tigre,” and the fact that cocaine was wrapped in distinctive pink cellophane. GASTELUM-INZUNZA was found with more than $118,000 in cash at the time of his arrest. The money and two vehicles were forfeited to the government. U.S. District Judge James L. Robart imposed the sentence.
The first arrests and indictments in the case occurred in late March 2008, with the arrest of ten people for Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine and Heroin. The investigation utilized court authorized wiretaps, which were left in place even after the first round of arrests. The wiretaps lead to additional evidence which resulted in the additional arrests in May 2008. During the second round of arrests, agents executed seven search warrants and seized more than 16 kilos of cocaine, three guns and more than $203,000 in cash. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration the drug trafficking organization has ties to Sinaloa, Mexico, an area directly responsible for sourcing drugs to the United States. The organization was distributing over 30 kilograms of cocaine per month in the greater Seattle area.
In urging a lengthy sentence for GASTELUM-INZUNZA, Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Vogel wrote to the court that “The headquarters for Gastelum’s operation was a residential apartment complex, armed with at least one loaded gun kept casually on an ottoman facing the front door. This dangerous and explosive combination of drugs, money, and a gun was surrounded by innocent and unknowing neighbors.” GASTELUM-INZUNZA has one prior drug trafficking conviction and used young, desperate illegal immigrants to deliver drugs for his organization.
Alonso Rojo-Lopez, 21, of Burien, Washington, was sentenced last month to 46 months in prison for Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine. Oscar Manuel Vargas-Feliz, 32, of Federal Way, Washington, was sentenced in October 2008, to 30 months in prison for Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine. Gustavo Rojo-Melendez, 18, of Burien, Washington, was sentenced last month to 19 months in prison for Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute.
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 King County Sheriff’s Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the FBI.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sarah Vogel and Karyn Johnson, and Darwin Roberts.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.