Six Indicted as Part of Whatcom County Fentanyl Trafficking Organization
Ring Leaders Traveled from Seattle to Bellingham with Drug Loads for Local Area Distributors
Seized fentanyl and firearms
SEATTLE, Wash.– A federal grand jury indicted six people in connection with a Whatcom County fentanyl distribution organization, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. The ring has been under investigation since late 2022 and was actively moving fentanyl from the Seattle area to redistributors in the Bellingham, Washington area. Three of the six people indicted are in custody. Three more are being sought by law enforcement.
“In order to continue to protect the Puget Sound region from organizations that distribute fake pills laced with fentanyl, we will act swiftly, as we did in this investigation, with all of our local and federal partners to ensure the health and safety of our communities,” said Jacob D. Galvan, Acting Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division.
“I commend the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Drug and Gang Unit and the Drug Enforcement Administration for a fast-moving investigation that worked to interdict potentially deadly pills over the last four months,” said U.S. Attorney Brown. “These alleged traffickers also possessed guns – some stolen, some with extended magazines – a dangerous combination with the narcotics.”
In a detailed criminal complaint, law enforcement officers described how they observed various apparent drug transactions and interdicted the drug loads. In one instance, law enforcement was called to a mini-mart where two people involved with the drug ring overdosed on fentanyl and had to be revived and transported to the hospital. Investigation of the ring revealed that the alleged two top leaders lived in Burien, Washington, and downtown Seattle. Multiple members of the ring have criminal histories which prohibit them from possessing firearms.
The grand jury charges all six defendants below with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl. Additionally, the defendants are charged as follows:
- Robel Sisay Gebremedhin A/K/A Robel Sisay Gebremedhui, 40, of Burien, WA is charged with: possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute; unlawful possession of a firearm; and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
- Mohamed Abdirisak Mohamed, 34, of Seattle, WA is also charged with possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute; unlawful possession of a firearm; and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
- Ahbdurman Ahmed, 32, of Seattle, WA is also charged with: two counts of possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute; unlawful possession of a firearm.
- Matthew Anderson, 35, of Bellingham, WA is also charged with: two counts of possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute.
- Daniel John Faix, 39, of Bellingham, WA is also charged with possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute; possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute; unlawful possession of a firearm; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
- Natasha Parkhill, 37, of Bellingham, WA is also charged with possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute.
State charges are anticipated on seven additional defendants.
“While our community struggles with the impacts of fentanyl overdoses and deaths, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Gang and Drug Task Force continues to work closely with our local, state, and federal partners to hold those distributing this dangerous drug accountable for their actions. We aggressively investigate those that bring these deadly drugs and criminal enterprises into our communities that prey on our most vulnerable,” said Whatcom County Undersheriff Doug Chadwick.
For some defendants in this case, the large drug quantities involved, and the firearms, require mandatory minimum penalties of ten years in prison and up to life in prison. Possession of a firearm is furtherance of a drug trafficking crime is punishable by a consecutive five years in prison on top of any sentence imposed on other charges.
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 case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF .
This investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Whatcom County Drug and Gang Task Force, with valuable assistance provided by the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, and the Whatcom County Prosecutor’s Office.