News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Drug Dealer Caught With More Than 30 Pounds of Heroin Sentenced To Ten Years In Prison

Defendant Fled to Mexico following Initial Investigation of His Drug Trafficking Ring

September 23, 2011

            HUGO ACOSTA-LOJA, 34, of Edmonds, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to ten years in prison and five years of supervised release for possession of heroin with intent to distribute.  A citizen of Ecuador, ACOSTA-LOJA will likely be deported following his prison term.  ACOSTA-LOJA was arrested November 19, 2010, outside his Edmonds home with more than 30 pounds of heroin and $141,000 in cash in the open trunk of his car.  ACOSTA-LOJA had been on the radar screen for law enforcement years earlier during an investigation of a drug trafficking ring.  ACOSTA-LOJA was not charged with his coconspirators in that case, because he had left the country.  At sentencing today U.S. District Judge Marsh J. Pechman told ACOSTA-LOJA “You are not welcome in the United States.  If you try to enter again without permission the sanctions are severe… There is nothing good that can happen from coming back to the U.S.”

            According to records filed in the case, ACOSTA-LOJA was first investigated by law enforcement in 2008 in connection with a ring distributing kilos of cocaine and pound quantities of heroin in Western Washington.  ACOSTA-LOJA was identified as a leader of the ring following his arrests for drug dealing and domestic violence.  ACOSTA-LOJA was charged in state court, but failed to appear on the charges.  He told his associates he was leaving town.  ACOSTA-LOJA was arrested in 2009, in San Diego, when he sought to illegally return to the United States. ACOSTA-LOJA was deported.

ACOSTA-LOJA’s associates were prosecuted in 2009 for their drug trafficking activity.  This investigation by Drug Enforcement Administration agents revealed the ring sold heroin and cocaine to as many as 30 customers a day.  In connection with the investigation, agents arrested eight individuals who pleaded guilty to drug trafficking crimes, and seized 14 kilograms of cocaine, 2 kilograms of heroin, and $95,000 in currency.
In May 2010, law enforcement learned that ACOSTA-LOJA had returned to the area and was again distributing drugs.  By November 2010, officers were able to track ACOSTA-LOJA to a residence in Edmonds.  Early on the morning of November 19, 2010, officers saw ACOSTA-LOJA come out of his home and open the trunk of his car.  Officers moved in and made the arrest.  In addition to the drugs and money in the car, agents found $30,000 in cash hidden under a bed.

            In asking for a 14 year prison term, prosecutors described for the court the danger ACOSTA-LOJA poses to the community.  “…the 30 pounds of heroin seized by agents conservatively represented over 7,000 user doses of heroin.  The substantial quantity of drugs and currency the defendant possessed on this single day, combined with the defendant’s lengthy, documented history of drug trafficking activity demonstrates the seriousness of his offense conduct and the danger he poses to the community,” prosecutors told the court.

            The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
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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