United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
“Hot Spot’ Initiative Targets Gang, Gun And Drug Crime In South King County
‘Operation Down in the Valley” Results in 33 Arrests, 28 Guns and nearly 14 Pounds of Meth Seized
Thirty-three people are in jail tonight and 28 firearms are off the street as the result of a three month U.S. Department of Justice “Hot Spot” initiative in South King County. “Operation Down in the Valley” targeted gang violence, drug and gun sales in the Kent, Renton and Tukwila areas. The initiative, led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and ICE’s Homeland Security Investigation also took nearly 14 pounds of methamphetamine off the street as well as cocaine, heroin and prescription narcotics. This three month initiative is the second Hot Spot initiative in the Seattle area. It follows the successful focus on White Center in 2011.
“Drug trafficking, and the violent crime it spawns, is not limited to our urban areas,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “We must make our neighborhoods places for people to thrive. ‘Hot spot’ initiatives such as this seek to identify and root out the bad actors who are making our communities unsafe. I congratulate ATF and Homeland Security Investigations for their leadership, and our local partners who worked to get dangerous and violent offenders off the street.”
“This hot-spot initiative exemplifies what can happen when agencies work together to combat criminals and protect communities,” said Kelvin Crenshaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Seattle Field Division. “Drug trafficking and violent crime has no place in our neighborhoods - urban or otherwise. Thanks to this joint enforcement effort, 28 illegal firearms and nearly a million dollars of illegal narcotics have been taken off our streets.”
Some of those arrested as part of the hot spot initiative include:
CEDRIC and TERRENCE JACKSON are charged with conspiracy and multiple counts of distributing cocaine and crack cocaine. When arrested at his home on October 18, 2012, CEDRIC JACKSON had four firearms including a Tek-9; a Glock with an extended magazine; a Taurus .357 revolver and a Russian-made revolver. CEDRIC JACKSON now faces additional charges for being a felon in possession of firearms.
ALONSO ENRIQUE PELAYO was arrested October 22, 2012 after selling several firearms to a person working with law enforcement. One of the guns was a sawed off shotgun and two of the hand guns had been reported stolen in Snohomish County.
JORGE FERNANDEZ-MUNOZ is charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and was arrested October 17, 2012 outside the Tukwila Target store where he had set up a two pound methamphetamine deal with a person working with law enforcement.
“Criminals don’t pay attention to jurisdictional lines or borders, which is why law enforcement partnerships that bring together a variety of enforcement authorities are incredibly important,” said Brad Bench, special agent in charge HSI Seattle. “HSI is committed to disrupting criminal enterprises at every level of their operation, from their associates in the U.S. to their leadership abroad.”
“This has been a great partnership between the ATF and local police to combat upper level gang members engaged in organized criminal activity in our region,” said Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas. “This type of operation is necessary to deal with the worst of the worst gang members so our programs of prevention and intervention will have a real opportunity to be successful. I am proud of the work done by the Special Agents and Detectives who targeted the criminals who are exploiting our young women, dealing drugs and running guns. Our communities are safer due to this important work.”
“The drug problem in America is prolific. Drugs infect every community in America and Seattle is no exception,” said Seattle Police Chief John Diaz. “The plague of crime, especially violent crime, that is a signature sign of drug trafficking is no stranger to South Seattle residents and beyond. It is therefore imperative that the Seattle Police Department work in unison with our allied law enforcement partners, both local and federal, to help remove this corrosive problem from our communities.”
The charges contained in the complaints 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.
The hot spot initiative was led by ATF and ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations. The police department and agencies involved include the Valley Gang Unit (including officers from Kent, Renton, the Port of Seattle, Tukwila, King County Metro and the Department of Corrections) the Seattle Police Department, the FBI and the Washington State Liquor Control Board. The cases are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the King County Prosecutors Office.