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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 3, 2016

Twelve Arrested for Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin, Meth and Cocaine

Drug Distribution throughout Four Washington Counties –Restaurant, Body Shop and Car Dealership Searched

          Eleven people were arrested yesterday in Washington and Nevada in connection with a large drug smuggling and distribution ring operating in four western Washington counties, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  An additional person was already in immigration custody.  The arrests coincided with the execution of 24 court-authorized search warrants for properties located in King, Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, Yakima, and Franklin Counties.  The searched locations included a restaurant in Everett, an auto body shop in Sedro Wooley, and a car dealership in Mount Vernon, Washington.  Defendants made their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Seattle today.  Those arrested in Nevada will make their initial appearances there before being transferred to the Western District of Washington.

            Ten of the defendants arrested to date are charged in an indictment returned October 26, 2016 with distributing heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine in King, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom Counties.  Additionally, two defendants are charged by criminal complaint. 

            Over the course of the six-month investigation leading up to the coordinated searches, law enforcement seized eight kilos of methamphetamine, two kilos of cocaine and nearly a kilo of heroin.  Law enforcement also seized more than $117,000 in cash.  Yesterday alone, agents seized an additional two kilos of cocaine, more than $180,000 cash and more than 20 firearms – including a loaded AK47.

            These defendants are currently in custody:

                        ERIC MARQUEZ; Mt. Vernon, WA - Age 24

                        HECTOR HUGO GARCIA-GUTIERREZ; Mt. Vernon, WA - Age 26

                        BALTAZAR REYES-GARCIA; Camano Island, WA - Age 44

                        ANGEL SERRANO-CARRENO; Mt. Vernon, WA – Age 29

                        HECTOR CONTRERAS-IBARRA; Pasco, WA – Age 32

                        IVAN BETANZOS-TORRES; Mt. Vernon, WA – Age 26

                        PABLO CATANO; Renton, WA, - Age 36

                       EDGAR GONZALEZ-TORREZ; Mt. Vernon, WA – Age 21

                       OSCAR LUNA-MERCADO; Everett, WA – Age 31

                       MIGUEL VALDOVINOS-CISNEROS; Kent, WA – Age 18

                       RIGOBERTO CASTELLANO-HERRERA, Mt. Vernon, WA – Age 26

                       ANTONIO GOMEZ, Burien, WA – Age 28

            The charges contained in the indictment and complaints 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 was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved.  The investigation was led by: the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in conjunction with the FBI, Whatcom Gang & Drug Task Force and Skagit County Inter-Agency Drug Task Force.  The investigation was supported by: the Auburn Police Department, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, Snohomish County Regional Drug & Gang Task Force, Mt. Vernon Police Department, Washington State Patrol, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, Skagit County Sheriff’s Office, Everett Police Department and Seattle Police Department.  Additional assistance was provided by HSI; CBP and Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

                The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kate Vaughan and Steven Masada. 

Topic: 
Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime
Updated November 3, 2016