Member of Violent South King County Street Gang Sentenced to Prison for Dealing Heroin and Illegal Firearms Possession
Defendant Trafficked Heroin while on State Probation; Toddler in Car with Drug Stash in Reach
A known member of the Callejones Escondidos Sureños (CES), a violent street gang based in King County’s South Park neighborhood, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 66 months in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. MARIO PARRA-CETINO, 28, of Kent, Washington pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin and being a felon in possession of a firearm. PARRA-CETINO dealt drugs while he was on state probation for domestic violence, including residential burglary, assault, and harassment. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge James L. Robart said this defendant “seems to have no respect for the law... distributing heroin, with children in close proximity. When arrested he ran from police with a handgun in his pocket.”
“Under the guise of being a devoted father, this defendant pedaled heroin throughout south King County – putting a child at risk of exposure to heroin and the violence that comes with drug dealing,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. “Federal and local law enforcement have joined forces in a concerted effort to target gang and gun violence in King County. These successful prosecutions are taking dangerous felons off the streets.”
According to records filed in the case, PARRA-CETINA was identified for federal prosecution after he was arrested for illegally possessing a firearm in June 2017, shortly after his release from prison. While that state charge was pending, PARRA-CETINA repeatedly sold heroin to a person working with law enforcement. On August 9, 2018, PARRA-CETINA was arrested while headed to a drug deal, with a 22-month old child riding in the car. In front of the child’s car seat was 65 grams of heroin. In the child’s diaper bag, adjacent to a sippy cup, officers found another 72 grams of heroin. A search of PARRA-CETINA’s residence turned up two firearms as well as additional heroin.
PARRA-CETINA was arrested in Operation East Watch. All eight defendants in Operation East Watch have pleaded guilty. Three of the eight await sentencing later this year.
- Anthony Ripley, 46, of Tacoma, was sentenced in November 2018, to ten years in prison for drug and gun possession crimes.
- Eddie Tarik Musa Bell, Jr was sentenced in November to four years in prison for distribution of methamphetamine and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
- Devon Parramore, 50 of Kent, was sentenced last month to 33 months in prison for distribution of methamphetamine.
- Allen Betts III, 40, of Kent, pleaded guilty of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and unlawful possession of a firearm and was sentenced last month to four years in prison.
- Anthony Colbert, 48, of Seattle, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and is scheduled for sentencing February 22, 2019.
- Neal Stringer, 46, of Kent and Des Moines, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is scheduled for sentencing in April 2019.
- Kenyon Taylor, 39, of Federal Way, pleaded guilty in December 2018, to distribution of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He is scheduled sentencing in March 2019.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, DOJ leadership announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.
The operation was led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’ (ATF) Puget Sound Regional Crime Gun Task Force and the Kent Police Department. The task force contains agents and officers from King County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Department of Corrections, Washington State Patrol, Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Marshals Service, Seattle Police Department, and Valley Narcotics Enforcement Team.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amy Jaquette and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Manca. Ms. Manca is a Senior Deputy King County Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute gun crimes in federal court.