Whatcom County Meth and Heroin Trafficking Group Shut Down
SEATTLE - On December 20, 2011, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration led a three day enforcement action in conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Northwest Regional Drug Task Force that dismantled a violent drug distribution group operating in the North Puget Sound region.
Six people have been arrested federally, including the leader Todd Hamilton, 34, and his girlfriend Denali Wood, 23, both of Bellingham, Washington. The couple distributed extensive amounts of heroin and methamphetamine in Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan Counties. Both appeared in U.S. District Court in Seattle on December 21, and remain in custody pending detention hearings next week.
According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, members of the conspiracy re-distributed drugs that they obtained from Seattle area conspirator, Elidio Jesus Guillen. On December 21, Guillen appeared in U.S. District Court. Other conspirators are still being sought by law enforcement. During a court authorized wiretap investigation, the conspirators discussed their drug distribution, how to launder drug money, and the beating one drug customer received when he failed to pay a debt. Information obtained during the course of the investigation revealed how Hamilton used a Washington State Department of Corrections officer to try to get information regarding law enforcement knowledge of him and his girlfriend. That corrections officer resigned his position earlier this year and has now been charged in the drug conspiracy.
The defendants are charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances – methamphetamine and heroin. Given the drug quantities involved, the charge is punishable by a mandatory minimum ten years in prison up to life in prison.
This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved.
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.