California Man Sentenced to 9 Years in Federal Prison for Transnational Drug Trafficking Scheme
Richland, Washington - Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced today that Michael Lopez Ferrel, age 30, of Salinas, California, was sentenced after pleading guilty to Possession with the Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Actual (Pure) Methamphetamine. United States District Judge Mary K. Dimke imposed a sentence of 108 months imprisonment to be followed by 5 years of supervised release.
According to court documents and information disclosed at sentencing, In February of 2022, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) learned Ferrel was supplying a large quantity of drugs to distributors in Eastern Washington. A confidential informant was used to set up a meeting to buy as much as 20 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and 500 fentanyl laced pills.
In March of 2022, a call was recorded between the Ferrel and the informant. During the call, Ferrel claimed he had been traveling from Mexico to Yakima every week with between 180 and 220 pounds of methamphetamine. Later that day, Ferrel and the informant met in person. Ferrel offered to provide the informant with 20 pounds of methamphetamine as well as pills that contained deadly amounts of fentanyl. Ferrel also said he had direct access to a source of drugs in Mexico and people in Mexicali and Tijuana to help move it.
On March 10, 2022, Ferrel called the confidential informant and made arrangements to sell the informant 10 pounds of methamphetamine. Surveillance units set up at Ferrel’s residence and the location where he was to meet the informant. Agents followed Ferrel as he traveled from his residence to another location that was being used as a drug stash house. Agents then observed Ferrel put drugs into the trunk of the vehicle. Agents continued to follow Ferrel as he traveled to meet the informant.
When Ferrel arrived, he pulled up alongside the informant’s vehicle and retrieved the drugs from the truck. He then got into the informant’s vehicle and gave the informant 10 pounds of methamphetamine. The drugs were packaged in 10 pre-packed zip-lock bags, each containing 1 pound of meth.
The next day, Ferrel made arrangements to meet the informant in Prosser, Washington, to collect payment for the drugs. When Ferrel arrived at the location, he was taken into custody by investigators.
Later that day, agents executed a search warrant at the residence being used as a stash house for Ferrel’s organization. Agents located more than 10 pounds of methamphetamine, a digital scale, a loaded Colt .45 pistol and $32,000 in US currency.
“Mr. Ferrel was part of a transnational drug trafficking scheme and was responsible for transporting massive amounts of illegal narcotics into the Eastern Washington and distributing those drugs into our communities,” stated U.S. Attorney Waldref. “I commend law enforcement for identifying Mr. Ferrel’s drug trafficking activities and preventing him from further distributing this poison in our neighborhoods. As a result of these efforts, Eastern Washington is safer and stronger.”
“The Drug Enforcement Administration and our Federal, state, tribal, and local partners, strive to keep us all safe from those who would prey on our communities,” said David F. Reames, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division. “This sentence against a methamphetamine and fentanyl trafficker proves our resolve to stop traffickers like Mr. Ferrel wherever they operate.”
This case was investigated by DEA Tri-Cities, assisted by the Tri-Cities Metro Drug Task Force, Tri-Cities FBI, United States Border Patrol, and Tri-Cities Regional SWAT. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Van Marter.
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