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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 25, 2022

Benton City Drug Trafficker with Ties to Sinaloa Cartel Sentenced to Nearly 16 Years in Federal Prison

Spokane, Washington – Chief U.S. District Judge Stanley Bastian has sentenced Julio Leal Parra, 47, of Benton City, Washington, to 191 months in federal prison for leading and organizing a drug trafficking conspiracy with ties to the Sinaloa cartel. Chief Judge Bastian also ordered Parra to pay a $50,000 money judgement in lieu of forfeiture of assets and to serve five years on federal supervision if he is allowed to remain in the United States. Parra’s drug trafficking organization operated out of the Tri-Cities, Washington, area.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, the FBI Safe Streets Task Force identified a transnational drug trafficking organization operating in and around the Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, Washington). Task Force Officers identified Parra as the head of a cell who worked directly with leaders of the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico. Parra facilitated and organized large drug shipments of methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin into the communities that make up the Eastern District of Washington. While running his drug operation, Parra operated “Perfect Design,” an upholstery business, and “SuKarne,” a meat market, in Kennewick. Law enforcement officers identified each of these businesses as locations in which Parra and his coconspirators stored drug shipments and laundered large amounts of cash. Working closely with local law enforcement, the FBI was able to identify several members of Parra’s organization, who worked as drug transporters and distributors reaching from Arizona and California all the way to Kennewick, Spokane, Idaho, and Montana. To date, ten members of the conspiracy have been convicted.

Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement officers seized more than 60 pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin, including a single shipment of 33 pounds of methamphetamine. Parra admitted to being directly responsible for bringing 20 to 50 pound shipments of drugs into the Tri-Cities every few weeks from December 2016 through October 2019. Even using conservative estimates, it appears that Parra was directly responsible for bringing more than a thousand pounds of drugs into Eastern Washington.

At the sentencing proceedings in the case, Chief Judge Bastian noted Parra’s leadership role in his organization and the stunning amount of narcotics and drug proceeds involved. He acknowledged that this was Parra’s first felony offense, but given the seriousness of the case, imposed a sentence of 191 months in federal custody.

U.S. Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref commended the seamless collaboration between the FBI, the Safe Streets Task Force, and local and state law enforcement in the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of a high-level drug distributor and stated: “To ensure a safe and strong Eastern Washington community, investigations like this one require the combined efforts of federal, state, and local agencies. I am incredibly grateful to all of the dedicated law enforcement officers, support staff, and their families, who prioritized the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of Mr. Parra and his criminal coconspirators.” U.S. Attorney Waldref continued: “For years, Mr. Parra peddled life ravaging narcotics throughout our region with no regard for the communities, families, and individuals he was destroying. The lengthy sentence imposed reflects the need to hold drug traffickers accountable for the serious harm they cause our communities and the need to deter like-minded individuals from engaging in similar crimes.”

“Over several years, this high-level drug dealer was responsible for huge quantities of drugs being transported frequently through Eastern Washington and multiple other states,” said Donald M. Voiret, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Seattle Field Office. “I want to thank all the partners involved in the FBI Southeast Washington Safe Streets Task Force for their commitment to this case. This sentence will remove Mr. Parra from our community for more than 15 years.”

This case was prosecuted under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program. The OCDETF program provides supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved in the investigation of drug-related crimes. This OCDETF investigation is being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force in Tri-Cities Washington, Kennewick Police Department, Richland Police Department, Pasco Police Department, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, and Washington Department of Corrections. This case was prosecuted by Stephanie Van Marter, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

Press Release Number: 
4:19-CR-06061-SAB
Updated March 25, 2022