JUN 21--Yakima, Washington – Today, Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge, Seattle Field Division, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and James A. McDevitt, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced the culmination of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, termed Operation Intolerance, which resulted in the arrest of thirty-two individuals and the seizure of eight (8) pounds of methamphetamine, four (4) kilograms of cocaine, 90 pounds of marijuana, along with $215,000 United States Currency, 34 vehicles, and 30 firearms.
This case began two years ago based on information indicating that three brothers, Rigoberto, Gilberto, and Gerardo Rivera, were operating a significant poly-drug distribution network in the Yakima Valley region of Washington State. This group originally received their narcotics from another drug trafficking organization, which was dismantled in November of 2003. Shortly after that group was dismantled, the Rivera brothers Brothers expanded their drug trafficking network and began smuggling narcotics from Mexico, through California and Oregon, into the Yakima Valley. The Rivera group then distributed the narcotics in throughout Eastern Washington and other areas throughout the United States.
During the investigation, the Rivera narcotics trafficking organization operated in business - like fashion by using vehicles with hidden compartments to smuggle drugs from Mexico , through California and Oregon, to Washington. Subsequently, this organization used the same vehicles to transport their illicit proceeds back to Mexico. Operation Intolerance attacked the Rivera organization by going after the leadership first and then by targeting their criminal associates. The latest enforcement operations began during the early morning hours of June 15, 2005, throughout the Yakima Valley, when agents and officers executed 10 Federal search warrants - 9 residences and 1 business. The Besame Mucho Nightclub business, which was operated by the Rivera brothers to plan their activities, was searched . by agents and officers. The property has been seized by the Federal Government and is subject to forfeiture proceedings.
Special Agent in Charge Rodney G. Benson of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said that “Operation Intolerance, a multi-agency investigation, targeted the drug trafficking and financial networks of the Rivera organization. This two pronged approach not only dismantled this trafficking organization but also choked the lifeblood of their illicit activity by taking away their money and assets.”
This joint investigation was spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Administration , Yakima Resident Office, who worked in concert with Agents, Sheriff Deputies, and Police Officers, from the Yakima Valley Narcotics Task Force, Law Enforcement Against Drugs (LEAD), Washington State Patrol, Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, Yakima Police Department, Union Gap Police Department, Goldendale Police Department, United States Marshals Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosive s, and the United States Attorney’s Office in Eastern Washington. In addition, this investigation was coordinated with DEA offices across the country.
The twenty eight defendants are charged with violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 & 841 – Possession with Intent to Distribute a Mixture or Substance Containing a Detectable Amount of Methamphetamine, Cocaine, and Marijuana, which can carry a minimum penalty of 5 years in prison. Additional arrests are expected in the coming months.
Every Defendant Is Presumed Innocent Until and Unless Proven Guilty Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.