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Press Release

Richland Drug Trafficker Who Transported Drugs in Sophisticated “Trap Car” Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Washington

Richland, Washington - Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced today that Angela Madrigal Chavez, was sentenced on February 22, 2024, after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine. United States District Judge Mary K. Dimke imposed a sentence of 120 months imprisonment to be followed by 5 years of supervised release.

According to court documents and information presented at sentencing, The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began investigating a substantial drug trafficking organization with ties around the United States. As part of the investigation, and in February of 2022, The DEA used a confidential informant to contact a member of the organization, Ruben Galvan-Trujillo, and arrange for the purchase and delivery of 20 pounds of methamphetamine to Pasco, Washington. Per Galvan Trujillo, this was a test run for establishing a drug distribution line to this Eastern Washington, wherein Galvan-Trujillo’s Drug Trafficking Organization would begin to send regular drug shipments in excess of 50 pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine and other product. Chavez worked as a transporter and drug distributor supplied by this Drug Trafficking Organization. Chavez and another member of this organization transported the 20 pounds from California to Pasco, WA.

The drugs were hidden in a sophisticated trap car. Chavez even had to use tools to open the trap, which contained 20 individual packages, each containing approximately one-pound quantities of crystal methamphetamine.  After the arrest of Galvan Trujillo, Chavez was again located in Eastern Washington with that same trap car, which again contained large quantities of cocaine, methamphetamine and deadly fentanyl laced pills. 

“Ms. Chavez was engaged in transporting a large quantity of drugs, hidden in a vehicle designed to avoid detection from law enforcement. Even after his co-conspirator was apprehended, Mr. Chavez was undeterred and again used the same method to transport illegal drugs. I grateful for the superb investigative work by our law enforcement partners to stop Ms. Chavez from transporting and distributing illegal narcotics,” said U.S. Attorney Waldref. “As this case demonstrates, The U.S. Attorney’s Office is dedicated to removing illegal drugs from Eastern Washington communities. Even those who use sophisticated methods to transport large quantities of illegal drugs will be caught and prosecuted.” 

“The DEA and our partners work hard every day to stop drug traffickers like Ms. Chavez from preying on our communities,” said David F. Reames, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division. “The sentence Ms. Chavez received in this case should serve as a warning to anyone trying to profit from the misery caused by methamphetamine trafficking.”

This case was investigated DEA Tri-Cities which includes DEA, USCBP, and Kennewick PD. The Metro Drug Task Force assisted. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Van Marter.


Robert Curry 

Public Affairs Specialist 

Updated March 8, 2024

Drug Trafficking