Puget Sound Mexican Drug Ring Dismantled
JUL 02 -- (Seattle) –– Federal agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) along with state and local law enforcement officers have arrested 31 people following a lengthy investigation into a drug trafficking organization that supplied methamphetamine and cocaine from Mexico for distribution in Washington. Twenty of those arrested have been charged federally for attempt and conspiracy violations of the Controlled Substances Act.
"Operation ‘Arctic Chill’ was a 14-month investigation that resulted in the seizures of drugs, weapons and the arrest of 31 individuals who were part of sophisticated organization operating in the state of Washington," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Arnold R. Moorin. "The dismantlement of this organization was a collaborative effort by state, local and federal entities, critical to the success of th is operati on."
According to court documents, investigators identified Martin Oseguera-Chavez of Roy, Washington, as the leader of the Oseguera-Chavez Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO). Oseuera-Chavez was responsible for purchasing methamphetamine and cocaine from sources in California and Mexico for distribution to DTO members in Washington.
The DTO involved a vast network of contacts in the Puget Sound region and in California. Drugs were transported along the Interstate 5 corridor in vehicles equipped with hidden compartments. Members of the DTO sought to conceal their actions, speaking with each other in coded language to describe the drugs, calling crystal methamphetamine “clothes” or “blind man” and referring to poor quality drugs as “stretched” or “bruised.”
Over the past two weeks, more than 35 search warrants were executed at various locations in Washington including Carnation, Federal Way, Lynnwood, Olympia, Puyallup, Rainier, Roy, Tacoma, Vancouver and Yelm. A search warrant was also executed in Oakdale, California, where an idle meth lab and approximately one pound of methamphetamine was discovered. During the course of investigation, law enforcement has seized more than 19 pounds of methamphetamine, ¼ pound of cocaine, approximately $60,000 in U.S. currency, 22 vehicles (some with hidden compartments) and 23 firearms.
Below is a list of those charged, age, residence by date of arrest:
Arrested June 30, 2009:
Arrested June 29, 2009:
Juan Pablo Rincon-Lopez, 30, Tacoma
Arrested June 13, 2009
Juan Antonio Trejo-Lopez, 30, Elma
“The success of this joint operation is measured by the fact that we successfully dismantled a criminal drug trafficking organization from the top down,” said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE’s Office of Investigations. “ICE will continue to partner with DEA and others to more effectively investigate these organizations - from smuggler to distributor - and bring to bear the complete complement of law enforcement’s authorities on this threat to our communities.”
The investigation was conducted by the following agenices: The Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Tacoma, Auburn, Bonney Lake, Centralia, Puyallup and Federal Way Police Departments, Gray’s Harbor Task Force, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, South Snohomish Drug Task Force, Washington Department of Corrections, and the Washington State Patrol.