CRIME BLOTTER

10 drug traffickers, all under the age of 30, arrested in Pierce County

Dec 6, 2023, 4:24 PM

fentanyl cocaine pierce county...

Drug Enforcement Administration agents on the scene of a crime. (Photo: Joe Burbank/AP)

(Photo: Joe Burbank/AP)

Ten members allegedly involved with a South Puget Sound drug trafficking organization were indicted for both importing and distributing fentanyl and cocaine throughout Western Washington, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

The indictments followed a prior, extensive investigation that uncovered the group’s drug trafficking — including distributing marijuana to locations along the East Coast. Multiple search warrants were served Wednesday, leading to eight arrests. Seven will appear in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, according to the DOJ, while the remaining individual will appear in U.S. District Court in San Diego.

More on fentanyl in the PNW: Police find fentanyl pills being sold for as little as 40 cents in Seattle

“Unfortunately, these defendants were all young, under the age of 30, but the quantity of drugs they were dealing was staggering,” Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa Gorman said. “They communicated via social media, and they advertised their drugs on social media using codes and emojis. They not only put their lives on a negative path, but they sold dangerous drugs that are harming so many other young people in our community.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), alongside partnering law enforcement agencies, seized nearly 52 kilograms of cocaine, more than 23 kilograms of fentanyl pills and 131 kilograms of marijuana. One drug shipment seized by law enforcement contained 37 kilograms of cocaine and more than a kilogram of fentanyl pills, according to the DOJ.

The organization was based in Pierce County, with drug enforcement officials investigating them since last year.

“These defendants are accused of trafficking over 150,000 lethal doses of fentanyl to communities in Western Washington and beyond,” David Reames, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Seattle Field Division, said. “This poison will never reach its potential victims because of the cooperation between DEA and our law enforcement partners in this investigation.”

More on drug busts in the state: Burien Police, led by K9 Quinn, seize county’s largest-ever fentanyl powder bust

Those arrested Wednesday for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances include: Joel Adrian Valencia Rosas, 27, and Ronnie Kendrick, 24, of Lakewood; Scott Burrows, Jr., 26, of Spanaway; Silias Hale, 19, and KeShaun Tremper, 18, of Federal Way; and Alyson Marie Pyles, 20, of Port Orchard.

In addition, Corey Earl Huff, 39, of Lakewood, was arrested for the unlawful possession of a firearm, the DOJ added.

“This operation will make a sizable dent in the drug trade over multiple states,” ATF Seattle Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson added. “In addition, the participants’ use of firearms as part of this scheme makes these actions even more dangerous to our communities.”

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10 drug traffickers, all under the age of 30, arrested in Pierce County