News Release
Date: October 01, 2010
Contact:Jodie Underwood
Number: (206) 553-5443

13 Year for Lead Defendant Tied to Notorious “La Familia” Cartel

OCT 01 -- (Seattle) – Arturo Barajas Garcia, 32, of Renton, Washington, was sentenced September 10, 2010 in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 13 years in prison and five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to engage in money laundering.  Barajas Garcia was one of sixteen people arrested in Western Washington in October 2009, following a nationwide crackdown dubbed “Project Coronado.”   The investigation, begun in December 2008, linked the distribution of methamphetamine and cocaine to the La Familia cartel based in Michoacan, Mexico.  Barajas Garcia was the leader of the local conspiracy, negotiating for the delivery of controlled substances with sources of supply in locations throughout the United States and Mexico. 

In the course of the investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) led task force searched 19 residences and 22 vehicles in Washington and California, and seized 27 pounds of methamphetamine, 10 kilos of cocaine, seven guns, and an estimated $150,000 in cash. Barajas Garcia directed others to transport methamphetamine from California to Washington, re-distribute it in Washington communities, and to deliver U.S. currency to pay for the narcotics.  

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Barajas Garcia is forfeiting any interest he has in nearly $230,000 in cash, a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado, seven guns, and property in Monroe, Washington as proceeds of the drug conspiracy.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved.  The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the South Snohomish County Narcotics Task Force consisting of Lynnwood Police Department, Mountlake Terrace Police Department, and  Edmonds Police Department.  The Burien Police Department, King County Sheriff's Office, the Seattle Police Department, Monroe Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Marshal's Service also participated in the investigation.