Investigation leads to 27 indictments in West Coast fentanyl drug bust

Mar 27, 2023, 6:01 PM | Updated: 6:12 pm

drug ring...

(Photo courtesy of DEA)

(Photo courtesy of DEA)

Twenty-seven people were indicted by a grand jury for drug trafficking Monday, which included many tied to a white supremacist “Aryan Family” prison gang, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Washington.

DEA Seattle agent Jake Galvin gave KIRO Newsradio an idea of the size of the seizure.

“The sheer amount of narcotics seized in this investigation is shocking,” said Galvin. “The fentanyl seized in this operation contained enough lethal doses to kill everyone who lives in Tacoma and Seattle, with enough lethal doses left over to poison another half a million people.”

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Brown claimed 1.9 million doses of fentanyl were confiscated alongside approximately 300 pounds of methamphetamine. Additionally, three kilos of cocaine, among other drugs like steroids, were seized.

“These cases arise usually on small matters, so usually you have someone who’s cooperating or is providing information to law enforcement about where they’re getting their drugs and law enforcement was successfully able to work their way up to identify all the people that are alleged to have committed this crime and indictments,” Brown said.

Brown told KIRO Newsradio that this was a wiretap investigation that lasted for more than a year.

“A lot of work went into monitoring that wire,” Brown said.

The coordinated takedown involved 10 swat teams and more than 350 law enforcement officers, resulting in the seizure of an additional 177 firearms, more than 10 kilos of methamphetamine, 11 kilos of fentanyl pills, more than a kilo of fentanyl powder, three kilos of heroin, and more than $330,000 in cash from 18 locations in Washington and Arizona.

Before last week’s takedown, law enforcement seized an additional 830,000 fentanyl pills, 5.5 pounds of fentanyl powder, 223 pounds of methamphetamine, 3.5 pounds of heroin, 5 pounds of cocaine, $388,000 in cash, and 48 firearms.

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“Those are prison gangs that are bound by their white power, white supremacy ideology,” Brown continued. “The lead defendant, in this case, is alleged to have been an Aryan family prison member. Then, when he got out, used some of those networks that he built in prison to do the crimes that we’ve alleged here.”

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Max Shiner and Zach Dillon, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Washington.

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Investigation leads to 27 indictments in West Coast fentanyl drug bust