CRIME BLOTTER

Leader of drug-trafficking organization sentenced to 11 years

Dec 19, 2023, 2:24 PM | Updated: 6:03 pm

drug ring jalisco cartel...

Photos of drugs obtained following an 18-month investigation of a drug trafficking organization, headed by Alan Gomez-Marentes. (Photo courtesy of the DEA)

(Photo courtesy of the DEA)

Alan Gomez-Marentes was sentenced to 11 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and the conspiracy to commit money laundering in U.S. District Court in Seattle Tuesday.

Gomez-Marentes, 38, lived in both Los Angeles and Tukwila, and was arrested in 2020 after an 18-month investigation of an extensive drug trafficking organization concluded. Gomez-Marentes, a citizen of Mexico, was also federally convicted of drug trafficking in Washington State previously.

More from the Department of Justice: Former Snohomish Co. restaurant owner found guilty of tax fraud

In total, the investigation led to the seizure of 45 pounds of methamphetamine, 12 pounds of heroin, 3,200 fentanyl pills, 22 firearms and $566,391. The investigation found he and his sister were involved in laundering the proceeds from the drug trafficking. Gomez-Marentes was ordering drug shipments and directed other drug handlers to process drugs for distribution.

“Alan Gomez-Marentes played a central leadership role in this highly successful organization for at least 10 months,” prosecutors wrote to the court, according to The Department of Justice. “He oversaw all aspects of drug trafficking: He orchestrated loads of drugs from Mexico; he managed the conversion of liquid methamphetamine to crystal methamphetamine; he directed numerous redistributors, providing them drugs for delivery and collecting cash drug proceeds; and he laundered tens of thousands of dollars.”

Through wiretapped phone calls, agents heard Gomez-Marentes directing members of the organization to get new phones or pack up drug trafficking materials to avoid police scrutiny, according to The Department of Justice. He was heard asking members to obtain firearms and urging the beating of a drug trafficker who owed him money.

U.S. District Judge John Coughenour, who imposed Gomez-Marentes’ sentence at Tuesday’s hearing, claimed the 11-year sentence was driven by the size of the drug trafficking ring and the amount of incredibly dangerous fentanyl it brought into the community. This was also Gomez-Marentes’ second federal drug trafficking conviction.

In 2005, Gomez-Marentes was convicted in Eastern Washington of distributing cocaine at Washington State University (WSU). He was sentenced to five years in prison and was deported. He was later convicted in Mexico for another drug trafficking crime. While serving five years in a Mexican jail, he began assisting drug dealers by translating drug deals with buyers in the U.S., the Department of Justice reported. He was released in Mexico in 2018 and illegally returned to Washington in 2019.

“The Jalisco Cartel is a significant threat to our community and the sentences today show the seriousness of the crimes of their affiliates here in the South Sound,” DEA Seattle Special Agent in Charge David F. Reames said in a prepared statement. “DEA appreciates the partnership of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our Federal, state, and local law enforcement partners as we close this investigation with a win for our community.”

More on drug trafficking in WA: 10 drug traffickers, all under the age of 30, arrested in Pierce County

The Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) was founded in 2009 and headed by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes (“El Mencho”), a cartel leader with a $10 million bounty issued by the U.S. Government. CJNG has been cited as one of the most brutal cartels in Mexico.

This is the final sentencing in this drug trafficking ring. The sentences for leaders and violent actors in this organization range include a 17-year sentence for Luis Magana-Ramirez, who was tied to violence and threats of violence. Lower-level distributors who were caught with drugs and guns have been sentenced to 10-12 years in prison.

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Leader of drug-trafficking organization sentenced to 11 years