News Release
May 29, 2009
Contact: Jodie Underwood
Number: (206) 553-5443

Leader of Mexican Drug Trafficking Ring Gets 20 Years Behind Bars

16 pounds of 'ice' was seized in the September 2008 operation.
16 pounds of 'ice' was seized in the September 2008 operation.

MAY 29 --(Seattle) –– DEA Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Arnold R. Moorin and the United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington, Jeffrey Sullivan, announced that on May 26, 2009, Jose Barraza-Vidal was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine. Barraza-Vidal was the Seattle based leader of an international cocaine and methamphetamine drug trafficking organization.

On September 10, 2008, Washington and Idaho law enforcement authorities began the dismantlement of the organization following a year-long investigation in Seattle, Washington and Rexburg, Idaho. Using court authorized wiretaps, law enforcement tracked the activities of the organization, and made arrests as they transported 15 kilograms of cocaine and 4 pounds of methamphetamine from Mexico to Seattle. More than two dozen people were arrested in Washington and Idaho and law enforcement seized 50 kilograms of cocaine, 16 pounds of methamphetamine, approximately $940,000 in cash, and numerous cars and boats.

This case was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Seattle Police Department and the King County Sheriff’s Office.