CRIME BLOTTER

Whatcom County agencies conduct major drug bust following dozens of overdoses

Mar 23, 2024, 3:05 PM | Updated: 3:08 pm

Photo: Several pounds of fentanyl are off the streets after a major drug bust in Whatcom County on ...

Several pounds of fentanyl are off the streets after a major drug bust in Whatcom County on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office)

(Photo courtesy of the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office)

Several pounds of fentanyl are off the streets after a major drug bust in Whatcom County on Wednesday.

According to a news release from the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement arrested five people in connection with delivering fentanyl.

The sheriff’s office said an investigation was started after dozens of people overdosed in the Bellingham area.

Lawmakers address fentanyl crisis: King County executive announces ‘multi-part strategy’ 

The sheriff’s office reported 24 overdose-related calls between January 2023 and March 2023 in the downtown Bellingham district.

It then reported 63 overdose-related calls from January 2024 to March 2024, spurring surveillance from the Whatcom Gang and Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Agency Bellingham Resident Office, along with the Bellingham Police Department.

The agencies surveilled the 6000 block of Neeval Road, east of Ferndale and the 5300 block of Guide Meridian in Bellingham.

They discovered connections between a “known Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) and local drug re-distributors suspected of selling large quantities of fentanyl in the City of Bellingham and Whatcom County,” wrote the news release.

The sheriff’s office said around 3.24 pounds of suspected powdered fentanyl, $6,000, an illegally sawed-off shotgun, multiple cell phones, suspected drug ledger notes, multiple empty baggies, a scale with residue and shotgun shells were recovered.

While law enforcement was conducting the search warrant near Neeval Road, they saw a car drive by.

The sheriff’s office said the car came from a location connected to the DTO. Carlos Monreal, a person of interest, was identified as a passenger.

Law enforcement found a plastic container under a seat in the car containing what appeared to be fentanyl powder.

5 arrested in connection to delivering drugs

After a search warrant, 35-year-old Victor Alcala Arellanes, 24-year-old Jesus Garcia Covarrubias, 23-year-old Carlos Ramos Navarrette and 29-year old Carlos Monreal Ceballos were arrested in connection with delivering drugs.

Navarrette, Ceballos and Covarrubias were also arrested for allegedly unlawfully carrying guns.

The four men were booked into the Whatcom County Jail.

More crime coverage: 2 teen boys found shot dead around I-5 in Seattle, WSP says

Law enforcement also arrested arrest 48-year-old Theron Chin of Bellingham for allegedly possessing a controlled substance with intent to deliver. However, Chin was already in custody at the time.

“At the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, we continue to be dedicated to eliminating deadly drugs from our community. We are grateful to have partnerships on the local, state and federal level who share this dedication. I encourage our community members to report suspicious and criminal activity to law enforcement authorities,” said Whatcom Sheriff Donnell Tanksley in the news release.

To find resources for those struggling with opioid addiction, visit Whatcom Overdose Prevention’s website.

Julia Dallas is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read her stories here. Follow Julia on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email her here.

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Whatcom County agencies conduct major drug bust following dozens of overdoses