News and Press Releases

Defendant with Residences in Yelm and Kirkland Identified in “Operation Arctic Chill"

October 13, 2010

MARTIN OSEGUERA-CHAVEZ, 51, a Mexican National with residences in Kirkland and Yelm, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 150 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. OSEGUERA-CHAVEZ is a Mexican citizen who likely will be deported following his prison term. He pleaded guilty in May 2010. OSEGUERA-CHAVEZ was the leader of a group distributing significant quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine. The investigation was dubbed “Operation Arctic Chill,” because the conspirators were distributing significant quantities of highly pure methamphetamine known as “Ice” in the South Sound and Southwest Washington areas. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan noted that this was “not just a large conspiracy, but a long one... involving significant amounts of drugs and money.”

In his plea agreement, OSEGUERA-CHAVEZ admitted he distributed cocaine and methamphetamine that was transported from Mexico to Western Washington. OSEGUERA-CHAVEZ went to California to pick up the drugs or sent others to pick them up. A wiretap investigation through the spring of 2009, revealed OSEGUERA-CHAVEZ making numerous drug deals to bring large quantities of cocaine and meth to Western Washington inside hidden compartments in various cars. Prosecutors wrote to the court that OSEGUERA-CHAVEZ was the leader of the drug ring, running the organization. “He (OSEGUERA-CHAVEZ) did not merely pass information from one participant to another, he directed and organized the entire transaction, telling each participant where to go, when the other participant could be expected, and what quantity of drugs to deliver or receive,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

In all, 26 members of the conspiracy were arrest in late June 2009. All have now pleaded guilty to a variety of drug distribution, gun or money laundering crimes.

“The defendant in this case engaged in large-scale criminal activity and was responsible for bringing significant quantities of illicit and dangerous drugs into our communities, putting the safety and well-being of the American public at risk,” said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Seattle. “His lengthy incarceration for this activity is appropriate.”

“Today’s sentencing reflects the cooperation between DEA and its fellow law enforcement counterparts pulling resources together to protect and serve our communities here in Washington and throughout the nation,” said Paul Schmidt, acting special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Seattle.

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