CRIME BLOTTER

13 Western WA residents indicted for major drug ring, 350 pounds of drugs recovered

May 15, 2024, 8:09 AM | Updated: 12:02 pm

western washington drug ring...

A DEA agent taking a suspect into custody during an undisclosed operation. (Photo courtesy of DEA)

(Photo courtesy of DEA)

Federal authorities have indicted 13 people — all from Western Washington — for involvement in an alleged drug trafficking ring. Ten of the 13 have been arrested and are currently in custody, as of Tuesday night.

The 10 people in custody have been accused of bringing “large loads” of fentanyl, methamphetamine and other drugs to our region. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) led the wide-ranging investigation alongside agents from the FBI, ATF, Border Patrol and local authorities from Seattle, Oregon and California

More major drug busts: Shoreline officers get 64 pounds of fentanyl off the streets

“These defendants were brazenly bringing large loads of drugs to western Washington and didn’t hesitate to arm themselves with high-powered firearms,” U.S. Attorney Gorman said in a prepared statement. “Even after law enforcement seized the drugs in various traffic stops in Oregon and Washington, they were not deterred.”

The DEA found some of them allegedly continued trafficking the drugs after they were already caught when they were pulled over in Oregon and Washington. In total, authorities seized 130 pounds of fentanyl pills, 178 pounds of meth and more than 50 pounds of cocaine. Dozens of guns were confiscated alongside the recovered drugs, including a rifle and a submachine gun.

Of the 10 arrested, just one person — Neldin Licona Rivera of Seattle — is older than 30. The other nine arrested ranged from 19 to 26 years of age.

More significant drug busts: Whatcom County agencies conduct major drug bust following dozens of overdoses

“Drugs and guns are a dangerous combination and this group had large amounts of both, posing a grave threat to Western Washington,” David Reames, Special Agent in Charge of DEA Seattle Field Division, said. “The Drug Enforcement Administration is thankful to our federal, state and local partners who worked with us tirelessly on this case to safeguard the lives of our community endangered by this group.”

The remaining three people involved who are not in custody are being sought by law enforcement.

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

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13 Western WA residents indicted for major drug ring, 350 pounds of drugs recovered