News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Everett Woman Who Was Key Player In Mexico Based Drug Distribution Ring Sentenced To Prison

Defendant Sought to Obtain Firearms for Mexican Cartels

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 8, 2013

            An Everett resident, who was deeply involved in a conspiracy to distribute drugs from Mexico and obtain guns to take back across the border was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to five years in prison and four years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  During the 2012 investigation, MICALIA VALENZUELA, 32, was captured on court authorized wiretaps discussing drug distribution, obtaining weapons and was reported to advocate violence against targets in Mexico.  VALENZUELA, who split her time between Mexico and Everett during the course of the investigation, was arrested March 29, 2012.  She was indicted along with 34 other members of the drug trafficking ring including her father and other relatives.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik recommended that VALENZUELA get drug treatment while incarcerated.

            According to records filed in the case, during the investigation, agents seized a significant quantity of heroin, methamphetamine, and firearms, including military-style assault rifles and sniper rifles which were bound for Mexico.  VALENZUELA was actively involved in the distribution of the drugs and discussing the weapons the group was trying to obtain to smuggle back to Mexico.  When she was arrested at her apartment investigators found approximately an ounce of heroin, together with smaller amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin; a loaded revolver and ammunition; body armor; and a “shopping list” of firearms, including AK-47s and AR-15 style assault rifles.  In her plea agreement VALENZUELA admits distributing heroin in November 2011.  VALENZUELA served the drug trafficking organization as a drug courier.

            “The same cartels responsible for violence in Mexico have infiltrated Washington communities,” said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. “These are people who resort to violence to protect their criminal enterprise.  HSI is focused on rooting these operatives out of our communities by disrupting every level of their illicit business.”

            Ten members of the conspiracy have pleaded guilty.  Trial for the other defendants is scheduled for May 6, 2013.

            The case was investigated by the ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Snohomish Police Department, Washington State Patrol, the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force and the Seattle Police Department.

            The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Vince Lombardi, Jeffrey Backhus and J. Tate London.

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