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Press Release

Leader of violent, cartel-connected, drug trafficking ring sentenced to 17 years in prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Defendant used threats and violence against drug customers and other drug trafficking conspirators

Seattle – A top leader of a violent international drug trafficking organization that distributed heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine in the Puget Sound region, was sentenced today U.S. District Court in Seattle to 17 years in prison, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Luis Arturo Magana-Ramirez, 35, of Fife, Washington, was arrested in July 2020 and pleaded guilty in July 2022. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said Magana-Ramirez “had a leadership role in an organization bringing large quantities of drugs into the area, particularly fentanyl which is wreaking havoc in our community.” 

“This defendant had a successful career as a contractor until he succumbed to the dark allure of drug money,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gorman. “He not only flooded our communities with dangerous drugs, he sought out firearms to impose his will on rivals and debtors and to keep the dollars flowing to him and to his bosses in the cartel. He has earned this lengthy prison term.”

Magana-Ramirez led a transnational drug trafficking organization. Law enforcement has linked the organization to a cartel in Mexico. Magana-Ramirez was responsible for bringing large amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, and fentanyl into Western Washington. Magana-Ramirez also pursued those who owed drug debts to the organization. At various times on the wiretap, federal law enforcement heard Magana-Ramirez threatening to beat or murder those who owed the organization money. In at least one instance, law enforcement moved in to protect a target of Magana-Ramirez’ threats of violence. 

When Magana-Ramirez was arrested on July 28, 2020, he possessed two firearms – one of them had been reported stolen and the other had an obliterated serial number. Magana-Ramirez could not legally possess firearms as he is a Mexican national who is illegally present in the U.S. 

In all, this drug ring was responsible for bringing more than 120 pounds of meth into the region as well as heroin, fentanyl pills, and cocaine.

In asking the court to impose a 17-year prison term, prosecutors wrote, “Magana-Ramirez oversaw the redistribution of hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of drugs in our community. He drove the success of this drug trafficking organization (DTO) through fear by organizing, directing, and arming subordinates and himself, and then using threats and violent confrontations to ensure that the DTO and its members continued to turn profits. Month after month, investigators intercepted Magana-Ramirez and his coconspirators plotting to kidnap and murder debtors, and even fellow DTO members.”

“This lengthy sentence highlights the seriousness of Mr. Magana-Ramirez’ leadership role in a group that brought despair to our community,” said David F. Reames, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division. “Our community is a little safer today because of this sentence.”

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Tacoma Resident Office in partnership with Tahoma Narcotics Enforcement Team (TNET), Kent Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, SeaTac Police Department, Thurston County Narcotics Team (TNT), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). 

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Amy Jaquette and C. Andrew Colasurdo.


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated December 12, 2023

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime