The DEA and other authorities arrested 17 people across the Puget Sound region in Washington State after an 18-month long investigation that involved court-authorized wiretaps and extensive surveillance. The individuals were large-scale drug dealers with ties to criminal groups in California and Mexico. In addition to drug trafficking, some of the defendants are charged with money laundering.
On August 5, 2015, federal, state, and local LEOs served search warrants on three storage facilities, 17 residences and more than a dozen vehicles. While they succeeded in arresting the 17 suspects, five remain on the loose. The DEA is seeking help from the public in locating them.
The authorities recovered substantial quantities of drugs, about $178,000 in cash, and 16 firearms including five assault rifles. The drugs recovered included:
- Six pounds of cocaine
- More than 29 pounds of meth
- More than 18 pounds of heroin
The DEA, the FBI, and the Seattle Police Department led the investigation, which was under the auspices of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). This task force provided supplemental funding to the federal and state agencies involved.
A large number of law enforcement agencies collaborated to bring down this criminal group. They included:
- Homeland Security Investigations – Seattle
- Washington State Patrol
- Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force
- Sheriff’s Offices:
- Snohomish County
- King County
- Kitsap County
- Pierce County
- Police Departments:
- Port of Seattle
- Federal Way
Anyone with information on the five suspects on the loose can text the DEA anonymously at TIP411 by beginning the message with TIPDEA.