Long Time Skagit County Violent Drug Dealer Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison
Guns, Drugs, Cash seized from Defendant with Lengthy Criminal History
A long-time Skagit County, Washington drug dealer and gang member was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to ten years in prison for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. CRISTOBAL ORTIZ, a/k/a Filero, 27, of Mount Vernon, Washington, was arrested in February 2015 following a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) undercover investigation. When court authorized search warrants were served at ORTIZ’ residence law enforcement recovered four firearms, methamphetamine, cocaine, and nearly $130,000 in cash. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik pointed out that those who are selling heroin and methamphetamine in Skagit County are having a “horrible impact.”
“This defendant has long jeopardized community safety in Skagit County with violent, threatening behavior toward both law enforcement and members of the public,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “With four prior felony convictions – three involving firearms – this federal prison sentence will effectively protect the community.”
ORTIZ has a 14 year history of crime in Skagit County and is well known to local police. In addition to drug distribution, ORTIZ has three prior convictions arising from incidents where he or an associate fired one or more guns. ORTIZ came to the attention of federal law enforcement in a 2013 wiretap investigation of a group of drug traffickers operating in Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom Counties. In early January and February 2015, a person working with law enforcement purchased highly pure heroin from ORTIZ and co-defendant Miguel Reyes Bravo. When law enforcement searched the homes of both men they seized heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and multiple stolen firearms.
Reyes Bravo was sentenced to six years in prison on April 15, 2016. ORTIZ pleaded guilty on March 10, 2016.
“This violent career criminal has been shut down and no longer will use his gang affiliations for illicit drug distribution,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis.
Writing to the court, Mount Vernon Chief of Police Jerry Dodd noted that ORTIZ had been involved with a violent gang operating in Skagit County and had more than 150 contacts with law enforcement.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with assistance from the Mount Vernon Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the Skagit County Interlocal Drug Enforcement Unit (SCIDEU), the Bellingham Police Department, the Whatcom Gang and Drug Task Force and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation (HSI).
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Karyn Johnson and Steven Masada.