Skip to main content
Press Release

Cartel Connected Leader of Large Drug Distribution Ring Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
California Resident used Stash Houses and Distribution Network in Snohomish and Skagit Counties

          The leader of a drug trafficking organization who admits his connection to the Los Zetas drug cartel was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 12 years in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. ENRIQUE AGUILAIR VALENCIA, 55, who resided in Fremont, California led a drug distribution ring that distributed large amounts of methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine throughout western Washington. Much of the distribution was via stash houses in Skagit and Snohomish Counties. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said he was concerned about the very large quantities of drugs and the guns involved in the case.


          “This defendant has shown nothing but contempt for the laws of the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “When law enforcement took down this significant drug ring, along with large quantities of heroin and meth, they found multiple firearms including one with a silencer. The community is safer with this defendant and his long history of sex and drug crimes behind bars.”


          According to records filed in the case, AGUILAIR VALENCIA is the last of six defendants prosecuted as part of this drug distribution ring. In March, April and May 2015, a person working with law enforcement purchased heroin and methamphetamine from various distributors in the conspiracy. The purchases were set up in recorded telephone calls with AGUILAIR VALENCIA. The person working with law enforcement recorded conversations with AGUILAIR VALENCIA discussing his ability to provide large amounts of drugs for distribution in the U.S. and Canada. The conspirators laundered drug proceeds though bank accounts controlled by AGUILAIR VALENCIA. While AGUILAIR VALENCIA resided in California, he controlled stash houses for his drugs, guns and money in Mt. Vernon, Bow, and Stanwood, Washington.


          AGUILAIR VALENCIA had no legal status in the United States, and had prior convictions for kidnapping, rape, assault with a deadly weapon (California 1986), lewd acts with a child and failure to register as a sex offender (California 2008), and illegal reentry after deportation (California 2011).


          AGUILAIR VALENCIA was arrested when law enforcement moved in on the ring in June 2015. At AGUILAIR VALENCIA’s various stash houses law enforcement seized a total of over 30 pounds of meth and heroin and numerous firearms including one with a silencer. At AGUILAIR VALENCIA’s home in California, agents seized nearly $32,000 in cash.


          On November 23, 2016, AGUILAIR VALENCIA pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to launder money.


          The other defendants in the case and their sentences include: Gustavo Garcia-Valencia (five years); Juan Diego Vasquez-Cardenas (three years); Rafael Marin-Macias (eight years); Guadalupe Farias-Savala (four years) and Efran Villalobos-Gonzalez (five years).


          This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in cooperation with the Skagit County Interlocal Drug Enforcement Unit and the Whatcom Gang and Drug Task Force.


         The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Steven Masada and Grady Leupold.



Updated March 21, 2017

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses