Justice Department Recognizes Human Trafficking Survivor and Advocate from Washington with Special Courage Award
A Puyallup man who owns a western wear store in Tacoma was sentenced yesterday to ten years in prison for conspiracy to distribute heroin, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. MARCOS ARAUJO URRIETA, 47, was arrested on September 17, 2011, following an investigation of heroin trafficking in the Tacoma area. ARAUJO URRIETA pleaded guilty in September 2012. U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle imposed the mandatory minimum ten year sentence in the case.
According to records filed in the case, ARAUJO URRIETA owned Zapateria Tarascos located at 924 E. 72nd Street in Tacoma. The store sold western clothing including boots and other merchandise. Law enforcement served a search warrant at a stash house in Tacoma on September 17, 2011. At the house was a co-conspirator who had been sent by ARAUJO URRIETA to pick up six to eight kilos of heroin for him to distribute from his store. Law enforcement officers then searched the store and found about four pounds of heroin and $250,000 in cash. ARAUJO URRIETA admitted the cash was from drug sales as well as the sales of some store merchandise.
This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The case was investigated by the Lakewood Police Department as the lead agency, and supported by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, and other member agencies of the Tahoma Narcotic Enforcement Team (TNET). The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Tacoma Resident Office also participated in the investigation.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Thomas, Marc Perez, and Jeffrey Backhus.