Rantz: Many suspects in massive drug bust are illegal immigrants, two recently deported

Oct 31, 2022, 5:20 PM | Updated: Nov 1, 2022, 7:21 am

(Photo courtesy of FBI)...

(Photo courtesy of FBI)

(Photo courtesy of FBI)

A coordinated west coast drug operation nabbed eleven suspects allegedly tied to Mexican drug cartels. Six additional suspects were previously indicted and arrested in September.

Several are illegal immigrants, including two who were recently deported, spotlighting the dangerous open border that allows bad actors to bring deadly fentanyl and meth to the country.

At least six suspects are believed to be in this country illegally from Mexico, according to two sources speaking to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH on the condition of anonymity, as they’ve not been authorized to reveal this information.

Of the six suspects, there are at least two who were previously deported.

Jose Paleo, a 29-year-old from La Mirada, California, was reportedly deported within the last two months before illegally crossing back into the country, according to a source. Other suspects may also be illegal immigrants, but their status is unknown, pending court hearings.

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The operation and suspects

With some 40,000 homeless people, many of them addicts, it’s lucrative for cartels to funnel their drugs to the Pacific Northwest.

Federal law enforcement targeted 14 locations in Washington and California, in addition to seizing two RVs full of drugs. The investigation involved intercepted communications and physical surveillance.

The majority of the suspects live in Washington, and the drugs were Seattle-bound. Local areas targeted include Kent, West Seattle, Ballard, and Bothell, according to federal authorities.

Mexican cartels supplied local Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO) with the product in Los Angeles, to be trafficked to Seattle, where drug use was decriminalized. The US Attorney’s Office alleges several suspects in DTOs conspired to distribute meth, fentanyl, and other controlled substances.

The operation successfully took 1,000 pounds of meth and over 350,000 fentanyl pills off the streets. Additionally, authorities found 4.5 kilos of heroin, 67 guns, and more than $1 million in cash across the three states.

The defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possessing controlled substances with intent to distribute.

In addition to Paleo, a source says Agustin Gutierrez Valencia (32, of Kent), Daniel Vazquez Arroyo (32, of Kent), Rosalio Reynoso Arellano (51, of Los Angeles), Ernesto Casillas (46, of Los Angeles), and Benigno Hernandez aka Ivan Santos Arellano (32, of Kent) are illegal immigrants. It’s unclear which of these suspects has been previously deported.

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Street-level drugs

The seized drugs are the supply flooding the streets of Seattle and surrounding cities. They’re most often found in encampments and no-barrier and low-barrier housing. These drugs fuel the homelessness crisis.

Fentanyl has already killed a record high 492 people in King County, up from 385 in 2021. Meth is the second leading cause of drug overdose death, already exceeding last year’s record high of 364 fatal overdoses with 365.

While people die, cartels and DTOs bring in hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mexican drug cartels, using ingredients from China, traffic manufactured fentanyl through the open southern border.

Meth is usually a direct product of the cartels, with cocaine usually coming through South America. It’s cheap enough to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars a day when sold to homeless addicts who engage in property crime and fencing to maintain their habit.

While the seized drugs were destined for Seattle, DTOs ship drugs across the country. While these arrests were significant, there are hundreds more involved with DTOs in King County alone.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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