United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
Ballard Resident Who Repeatedly Sold Marijuana To Middle And High School Students Charged Federally
Law Enforcement Surveillance Shows Repeated Sales to Minors
A resident of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood was arrested this morning on a criminal complaint charging him with conspiracy to distribute marijuana, two counts of distribution of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. ALEJANDRO ANTONIO CASTILLO, 51, came to the attention of law enforcement in March 2013 after a middle school parent reported students were purchasing marijuana from CASTILLO’s home a block north of Ballard High School. Surveillance of the home and purchases by undercover officers revealed that CASTILLO and his associates were repeatedly selling marijuana to minors including high school and middle school students from area schools. CASTILLO will appear in U.S. District Court in Seattle at 2:00 today.
“The Department of Justice priorities on marijuana are very clear – and one of the highest priorities is preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “The sale of marijuana to these teen-agers not only impacts their ability to learn, it disrupts the educational experience for other students. This conduct is the reason we have stronger penalties for those who distribute drugs within 1000 feet of schools, parks and other places where children congregate.”
“There was a gap in the law from the time I-502 passed until the legislature fixed the legal definition of marijuana that would have made the case extremely problematic for state prosecutors. We appreciate federal prosecutors stepping in to handle this serious case of dealing marijuana to minors,” said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
According to the criminal complaint on various dates in April 2013, Seattle Police detectives observed teens from Whitman Middle School and Ballard High School approach the home where CASTILLO lives with his family members and associates. The teens would go to the back door of the home, be there for a few minutes and leave. Some were observed to be holding plastic bags of what appeared to be marijuana as they left. On April 5, 2013, detectives observed 18 teens between the age of 14 and 18 approach the house in a three hour period beginning just before noon. Most of the teens appeared to come directly from Ballard High School.
On four different occasions undercover officers posing as juveniles purchased both marijuana and brownies laden with marijuana from CASTILLO or his associates. On April 24, 2013, Seattle Police served a search warrant at the home and seized approximately 1,200 grams of suspected marijuana which included approximately 99 marijuana cigarettes, nine trays of suspected marijuana brownies, four shotguns, one rifle, six handguns, and $4,755 in U.S. Currency. According to police reports, the home had previously been targeted in a home invasion robbery. Two men had fired a shotgun into the house, CASTILLO fired back with one of his firearms, but the robbers fled and no one was hit by gunfire.
Conspiracy to distribute marijuana, two counts of distribution of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute are punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The case is being investigated by the Seattle Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Hobbs. Mr. Hobbs is a Senior Deputy King County Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute gun and drug cases in federal court.