News and Press Releases

Distributed Kilo Quantities of Cocaine in Case Dubbed “Operation Clean Ride”

September 11, 2009

JUAN SALINAS BAUTISTA a/k/a Jose A. Morales Victoria, 38, of Des Moines, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 136 months in prison (11years, 4 months) for Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine and Crack Cocaine, and Possession of Cocaine and Crack Cocaine with intent to Distribute. BAUTISTA was convicted May 12, 2009, following a week-long trial in front of Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik. At sentencing Chief Judge Lasnik said, “the quantity of cocaine that was being moved here... deserves a serious punishment.” Chief Judge Lasnik added that drug dealers like BAUTISTA are “engaging in a business that destroys lives and destroys communities.”

BAUTISTA was identified for prosecution during a year-long investigation dubbed “Operation Clean Ride.” The investigation, lead by the ATF Violent Gang Task Force, took its name from the fact that leaders of the group operated out of a South Seattle car detail business. Fifteen people were arrested on March 20, 2008, following a series of court authorized wiretaps and surveillance that revealed the reach of the drug distribution network. Evidence at trial proved that BAUTISTA was a cocaine supplier to members of the conspiracy, delivering multiple kilo quantities of cocaine to Nicola Kilcup and her husband Shawn Piper. In court numerous cell phone calls were played for the jury as Nicola Kilcup conspired with BAUTISTA to schedule drug deliveries.

In asking for a significant sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg noted that BAUTISTA had been trafficking cocaine over an eight year period. Despite previous arrests, BAUTISTA continued to deal large amounts of cocaine. “The defendant’s early narcotics related contacts with law enforcement did not deter him in the least. Moreover, after he was deported from the United States, he shortly thereafter unlawfully re-entered the country, only to resume his drug dealing on a grander scale,” Mr. Greenberg wrote in his sentencing memo.

Last year Nicola Kilcup was sentenced to 12 years in prison, Shawn Piper was sentenced to 13 years in prison, and Nicola’s brother Gary Kilcup, who was also involved in the drug conspiracy was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

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 ATF Violent Gang Task Force which includes agents and officers from the Seattle Police Department, the King County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Department of Corrections, Kent Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Additional assistance with the arrests on March 20, 2008, was provided by the United States Marshal’s Service Pacific Northwest Fugitive Task Force, the SeaTac Police Department and the Des Moines Police Department.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Vince Lombardi and Todd Greenberg.

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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