Spouse and cousin of drug trafficking ringleader sentenced to significant prison terms for their roles in drug distribution conspiracy
Seattle –Three people were arrested on an indictment today charging a conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in Whatcom County, Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. The defendants will make their initial appearance at 2:00 today and tomorrow in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
“This undercover investigation revealed these defendants were responsible for the distribution of thousands of pills tainted with potentially deadly fentanyl,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. “A recent analysis by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office showed a significant drop in overdose deaths following large law enforcement seizures in federal drug cases. I am pleased our federal partners worked closely with Whatcom County law enforcement and other local authorities to reduce the flow of dangerous pills into our communities.”
“Saving lives is a priority of the Drug Enforcement Administration,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino. “Today’s enforcement action illustrates the commitment and sense of urgency the men and women of DEA routinely demonstrate as they carry out their mission of enforcing the federal narcotic laws of the United States. We must continue to focus our valuable resources and leverage our much needed and well established partnerships with the United States Attorney’s Office and local, state, county and federal law enforcement agencies to stem the tide of the systemic and widespread abuse of opioids in our communities.”
All three men named in the indictment are charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl. Each is charged with other specific distribution counts as well between September 2020 and January 2021.
JAIME HERNANDEZ HERNANDEZ, 21, of Ferndale, Washington, is charged with three additional counts of fentanyl distribution.
GORGE ORTIZ, 23, of Lynden, Washington, is charged with three additional counts of fentanyl distribution.
STANLEY STUBBS, 51, of Bellingham, Washington, is charged with possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Today, eight search warrants were executed, and law enforcement seized more than 5,000 fentanyl pills. Over the course of the investigation law enforcement has seized thousands of fentanyl pills and pound quantities of heroin and methamphetamine.
Due to the amount of fentanyl involved in this case, all three men face mandatory minimum ten-year sentences if convicted.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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 https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) HIDTA Bellingham Residence Office, which is comprised of DEA, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations, and U.S Customs and Border Protection. In addition, these law enforcement agencies assisted with the arrests and search warrants executed today: Whatcom County SWAT, Washington State Patrol SWAT, Homeland Security Special Response Team, Skagit County Interlocal Drug Enforcement Unit, Ferndale and Lynden Police Departments.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Hobbs.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.