Whatcom County fentanyl ring busted, indictments handed up

Apr 20, 2023, 4:05 PM


Supervised consumption sites in give addicts who use fentanyl, opioids, crystal methamphetamine and other drugs a place to use. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

A federal grand jury indicted six people in connection with a Whatcom County fentanyl distribution ring.

The U.S. attorney’s office announced Thursday that three of the six people indicted are in custody. Three more are being sought by law enforcement.

The ring has been under investigation since late 2022 and was actively moving fentanyl from the Seattle area to redistributors in the Bellingham area. The grand jury charged all six defendants with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl.

The defendants are:

  • Robel Sisay Gebremedhin, 40, Burien
  • Mohamed Abdirisak Mohamed, 34, Seattle
  • Ahbdurman Ahmed, 32, Seattle
  • Matthew Anderson, 35, Bellingham
  • Daniel John Faix, 39, Bellingham
  • Natasha Parkhill, 37, Bellingham

Each was charged with related alleged crimes.

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“While our community struggles with the impacts of fentanyl overdoses and deaths, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Gang and Drug Task Force continues to work closely with our local, state, and federal partners to hold those distributing this dangerous drug accountable for their actions,” said Whatcom County Undersheriff Doug Chadwick. “We aggressively investigate those that bring these deadly drugs and criminal enterprises into our communities that prey on our most vulnerable.”

Law enforcement officers described how they observed various apparent drug transactions. In one instance, law enforcement was called to a mini-mart where two people involved with the drug ring overdosed on fentanyl and had to be revived and transported to the hospital.

Investigation of the ring revealed that the alleged two top leaders lived in Burien and downtown Seattle. Multiple members of the ring have a criminal history, which prohibits them from the ability to possess a firearm.

“I commend the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Drug and Gang Unit and the Drug Enforcement Administration for a fast-moving investigation that worked to interdict potentially deadly pills over the last four months,” U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said. “These alleged traffickers also possessed guns – some stolen, some with extended magazines – a dangerous combination with the narcotics.”

For some defendants in this case, the large drug quantities involved, and the firearms, require mandatory minimum penalties of ten years in prison and up to life in prison.

“In order to continue to protect the Puget Sound region from organizations that distribute fake pills laced with fentanyl, we will act swiftly, as we did in this investigation, with all of our local and federal partners to ensure the health and safety of our communities,” said Jacob D. Galvan, Acting Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division.

State charges are anticipated on seven additional defendants.

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