July 20, 2018
Contact: Jodie Underwood
Phone Number: (206) 553-1162
Indictments target north sound drug trafficking ring distributing 2 kilos of heroin a week
SEATTLE - A six month investigation of significant heroin and methamphetamine trafficking in the north Puget Sound region culminated in 11 federal arrests on July 17, 2018. Agents and officers served 33 search warrants which resulted in the seizure of 18 firearms, ten pounds of heroin, 20 pounds of methamphetamine, and more than $500,000.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis of the Pacific Northwest region said, “This North Sound criminal enterprise has been on our radar for a very long time, and the surgical removal of this group will thwart the flow of foreign sourced heroin endangering our communities.”
The local leader of the drug trafficking ring, Jose Verduzco Urias, 40, was arrested along with seven other defendants named in the ten-person indictment. Three people were arrested and charged by federal criminal complaint and a dozen were arrested on state and local charges.
Jose Verduzco Urias has homes in both Snohomish, Washington and in Sedro Wooley, Washington. He had crossed the radar of law enforcement in previous investigations, and thus became the target of increased investigation in late 2017. Members of the Verduzco Urias distribution group named in the indictment include:
Belinda Cruz, 40, Sedro Wooley, Washington
Alberto Cruz Reyes, 52, Phoenix, Arizona
Fernando Santa Cruz, 27, Mount Vernon, Washington
Jose Urena Verduzco, 32, Kirkland, Washington
Julian Zamora Garcia, 34, Seattle, Washington
Julio Cesar Fierro-Vega, 33, Mount Vernon, Washington
Ivan Valdez Soto, 34, Salem, Oregon
Victor Martinez, 23, Mount Vernon, Washington
Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement utilized information from a number of people working with law enforcement some of whom made drug buys from members of the organization.
The charges contained in the indictment 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.
This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The investigation was led by DEA and FBI with significant participation from Homeland Security Investigations, Whatcom Gang and Drug Task Force, Skagit County Interlocal Drug Enforcement Unit, Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force, ATF, U.S. Border Patrol, Washington State Patrol, Everett Police, North Sound SWAT, Seattle Police, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and was supported by North West High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.