News Release
July 20, 2006

Yakima Investigation Results in Takedown of
Major Methamphetamine Trafficking Organization

JUL 20--Spokane – Today, DEA Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Rodney Benson and James A. McDevitt, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that a federal grand jury returned a multiple count indictment which charges ten defendants with being involved in a drug trafficking scheme centered in and around Sunnyside, Washington.

The indictment charges Pedro Silva Chiprez, Jose Isabel Garcia-Meza, Samuel Silva-Chiprez, Miguel Angel Farias Cornejo, Jorge Rubio Montero, Franciso Javier Plazola-Chiprez, Teresa Chiprez, and Wendy Soledad Chiprez with conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and 500 grams or more of cocaine. Several of these defendants are also charged with counts of distribution of methamphetamine and cocaine, maintaining a place for the distribution of controlled substances and use of a communication facility to facilitate a narcotics transaction. So far, six firearms, $162,880 in cash and approximately seven pounds of methamphetamine have been confiscated in this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. The eight named defendants and three others were arrested on July 20, 2006. The arrests are the culmination of an investigation of the Chiprez group which began in 2002 with the arrest of Carmen Chiprez, sister of Pedro Silva Chiprez, for distribution of cocaine.

SAC Rodney Benson said, “Operation Crop Duster was designed to weed out and dismantle a know methamphetamine trafficking organization which was operating in the Yakima Valley and Tri-Cities areas of Eastern Washington. While DEA has seen a reduction in locally produced methamphetamine over the past few years, we have seen a tremendous increase in the amount of high-potency meth coming from Mexico. We are committed to targeting groups like the Chiprez organization and stemming the flow of methamphetamine into the northwest.”

“My congratulations to the DEA for their perseverance in pursuing this investigation of what appears to have been a major narcotics trafficking organization in the Yakima Valley,” said McDevitt.

A conviction of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances as charged in this indictment, the most serious charge against the defendants, carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment with a ten year mandatory minimum term being applicable, a $4,000,000 fine, and up to a life term of court supervision after release.

This investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration in conjunction with the Yakima Valley Narcotics Task Force, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, LEAD Drug Task Force, Metro Drug Task Force, Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office, Yakima Police Department and the Washington State Patrol.

An Indictment Contains Allegations That a Defendant Has Committed a Crime. Every Defendant is Presumed Innocent Until and Unless Proven Guilty Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.


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