Coordinated teams of more than 150 law enforcement officers and agents fanned out across the Puget Sound region early Tuesday (May 8) to dismantle two drug trafficking organizations, U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes announced.
A dozen people are in custody, arrested on two different grand jury indictments charging trafficking of both methamphetamine and heroin. The arrests follow two wire-tap investigations and grew out of an earlier investigation that resulted in more than twenty arrests in March 2018. The defendants were schedule to make their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on Tuesday.
“Once again, federal, state and local law enforcement partners have come together to address the drug and gun crime plaguing communities in the South Sound,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes (pictured, right). “The two groups arrested today have been charged with serious crimes involving methamphetamine, heroin and guns. Today they appear in court to hear the charges against them – the beginning of the process to hold them to account and keep our communities safe.“
Today law enforcement searched a dozen homes and multiple vehicles in connection with the two drug rings. During the searches law enforcement seized 22 pounds of meth, one pound of heroin, $48,000 cash and more than 40 firearms.
“These highly coordinated operations are purposely designed to disrupt the controlling elements who are responsible for importing dangerous amounts of methamphetamine and heroin into Western Washington,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith R. Weis.
As part of this investigation, prior to Tuesday, more than 65 pounds of meth was seized from one of the drug organizations during traffic stops along the I-5 corridor.
In March 2017, law enforcement stopped a car with 25 pounds of meth.
In three other stops in January and August of 2017 and in March of 2018, officers seized as much as 14 pounds of meth from hidden compartments in “load cars.”
Law enforcement searched five homes in connection with this group: two in Federal Way, and homes in Auburn, Des Moines, and Kent. Four people are charged in connection with that drug trafficking group:
- JAIME ASTORGA VEGA, 31, of Federal Way, Washington
- JOSE ALVAREZ SANCHEZ, 25, of Kent, Washington
- JAVIER GARCIA RODRIGUEZ, 34, of Auburn, Washington
- YAJAIRA ANDRADE DIAZ, 30, of Des Moines, Washington
In the second indictment, eight people are charged with trafficking both methamphetamine and heroin:
- PRISCILIANO PASCACIO PACHECO, 28, of Kent, Washington
- DANNY AVILA, 28, of Enumclaw, Washington
- JEFFREY A. ANONSON, 47, of Kent, Washington
- MARGARITO TORRES VALDOVINOS, 24, of Seattle, Washington
- FREDERICK CLAYTON BAILEY, 63, of Ravensdale, Washinbgton
- ALICIA LEE ROBERTSON, 43, of Lakewood, Washington
- TRINIDAD RAMIREZ RAMIREZ, 27, of Black Diamond, Washington
- ISMAEL GARCIA VALENZUELA, 24, of Thermal, California
In connection with this second group, law enforcement searched three homes in Kent, as well as homes in Marysville, Seattle, Enumclaw, and Lakewood.
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 was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved.
This investigation was conducted by DEA Tacoma, the Tahoma Narcotics Enforcement Team (TNET), and the Kent Police Department, with significant assistance from the Auburn and Bonney Lake Police Departments. TNET is comprised of agents and officers from DEA, Washington State Department of Corrections, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and the Auburn, Tacoma, Puyallup, Bonney Lake, and Lakewood Police Departments.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Marci L. Ellsworth and C. Andrew Colasurdo.