News Release
September 26, 2008
Contact: Jodie Underwood
Number: (206) 553-1162

Meth, Cocaine Ring Dismantled in Washington and Idaho
Organization Distributing monthly over 70 KG of Cocaine & 30 PDS of Methamphetamine

SEP 26 -- (Seattle) – DEA Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Arnold R. Moorin, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington, Jeffrey Sullivan and the United States Attorney for the District of Idaho, Thomas E. Moss announced that more than two dozen subjects face federal cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking charges following a year-long investigation in Seattle, Washington and Rexburg, Idaho.

Fifteen people have been indicted by a federal grand jury in the Western District of Washington and presently eleven are under arrest. Six others are in state or immigration custody. Over the past month, authorities have searched seven locations in Western Washington and seized 20 kilograms of cocaine, sixteen pounds of methamphetamine, approximately $940,000 in cash and numerous cars and watercraft.

Fourteen people have been indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Idaho and presently thirteen are under arrest. Authorities have searched ten locations in Idaho and seized two pounds of methamphetamine and numerous cars.

“This well established and sophisticated organization controlled by Sinaloan drug sources no longer exists in the Pacific Northwest,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Arnold R. Moorin. “The investigation is yet another outstanding example of law enforcement partnerships working together as one.”

The federal focus of the investigation intensified in November 2007, when a Cadillac Escalade registered to a Seattle resident was stopped by Oregon State Police as it traveled north on Interstate 5 outside of Salem. Bertario Santos-Rojas was a passenger in the vehicle. A K-9 alerted on the vehicle and with the assistance of Customs and Border Protection, investigators found 31 kilograms of cocaine and more than $11,000 cash hidden in a speaker box in the rear of the vehicle. The driver of the Escalade, and Bertario Santos-Rojas are charged in connection with that seizure in the District of Oregon as well.

Following the traffic stop, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Seattle Police Department and King County Sheriff’s Office, continued to gather information about the Santos-Rojas organization. In addition, the DEA and Madison County Sheriff’s Office infiltrated the Rexburg, Idaho cell and identified the Idaho leader as Esteban Rojas-Perez. Multi-jurisdictional task forces continued to gather and share information about the organization.

In June 2008, a wiretap confirmed that Santos-Rojas was working collectively with Rojas-Perez to obtain Mexican sourced methamphetamine and cocaine, which was shipped through California to the Northwest. The organization was utilizing concealed compartments to transport their drugs and money to and from Mexico.

On September 10, 2008, Washington and Idaho law enforcement authorities began the dismantlement of the organization and concluded operations early this morning.

Those indicted In Washington and Idaho include:

Bertario Santos-Rojas, 36, Auburn, Washington
Daryl Shears, 43, Renton, Washington
Maria Baez, 30, Kent, Washington
Felicia Bowen, 36, Kent, Washington
Jesus Yordani Moreno Zuarez, 20, Shoreline, Washington
Ignacio Pena-Garcia, 32, Bothell, Washington
Jose Vidal-Barraza, 21, Renton, Washington
Nestor Cruz-Santiago, a/k/a “Rica”, 22, Renton, Washington
Baltazar Davila-Cervantez, 24, Burien, Washington
Christian Ruelas-Ortiz, 22, Culiacan, Mexico
Martin Miguel Velasco, 30, Mexico
Daniel Roberto Lopez-Lopez, 24, Sinaloa, Mexico
Simon Ruiz-Garcia, 37, Kent, Washington
Maura Meza, 24, Renton, Washington
Georgina Fernandez, 22, Issaquah, Washington
Esteban Rojas-Perez, 30, Rexburg, Idaho
Lorenzo Ojeda-Martinez, 41, Rexburg, Idaho
Ivan Vega, 28, St. Anthony, Idaho
Carmelo Rojas-Perez, 36, Rexburg, Idaho
Maira Medina-Villa, 31, Rexburg, Idaho
Manuel Avendano-Reyes, 20, Idaho Falls, Idaho
Jose Guadalupe Chavez-Medina, 39, Rexburg, Idaho
Jose Perez-Lopez, 29, Idaho Falls, Idaho
Juan Gabriel-Flores, 37, Rigby, Idaho
Spencer Beckstead, 28, Rexburg, Idaho
Felix Moreno-Rangel, 26, Idaho Falls, Idaho
Salvador Resendis, 42, Idaho Falls, Idaho
Jose Soto-Hernandez, 21, Idaho Falls, Idaho
Arturo Chavez-Lopez, 27, St. Anthony, Idaho
Ivan Escobar-Martinez, 22, St. Anthony, Idaho

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Ada County Sheriff’s Office, Boise Police Department, Canyon County Sheriff’s Office, Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Nampa Police Department, Seattle Police Department and the King County Sheriff’s Office. Assisting agencies included Idaho State Police, Idaho Falls Police Department, Blackfoot Police Department, Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, Bingham County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Rexburg Police Department, and Fremont County Sheriff’s Office.