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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
October 13, 2005

41 Kilos of Cocaine and 25,000
Ecstasy Tablets Seized

OCT 13--(Bellingham, WA) – Today, Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge, Seattle Field Division, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Stephen Almon, Chief, Oak Harbor Police Department (PD), announced the seizure of 41 kilograms of cocaine and approximately 25,000 Ecstasy tablets, and the arrest of 4 individuals in Bellingham, Washington. This seizure has an estimated wholesale distribution value of more than $1.6 million. The investigation was initiated by the Oak Harbor PD.

On the evening of October 4, 2005, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle traveling on Northbound Interstate 5 (I-5) near Bellingham, Washington, and discovered 41 kilograms of cocaine inside the vehicle. The investigation continued into the next day when the DEA, the WSP and other state and local officers, seized approximately 25,000 Ecstasy tablets from a boat docked at Sandy Beach in Bellingham, Washington.

Special Agent in Charge Rodney G. Benson said: "The Drug Enforcement Administration, with our state and local law enforcement partners, continues to target the most significant criminal organizations responsible for the illicit drug supply in America. This seizure is an example of how we are working closely together to make our communities safer by taking dangerous drugs off the streets."

“Without question, this is the largest drug seizure in which the Oak Harbor Police Department has participated,” said Police Chief Stephen Almon. “This investigation was initiated by Sergeant Tim Sterkel, a 30-year veteran with the Oak Harbor Police Department, who was being recognized by the City Council for his years of service when the cocaine seizure was underway.”

The four defendants are charged in the Western District of Washington with violation of 21 USC § 812 – Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, and violation of 21 USC § 846, 841(a)(1), and 841(b)(1)(C) – Conspiracy to Distribute Ecstasy.

Every Defendant Is Presumed Innocent Until and Unless Proven Guilty Beyond a Reasonable Doubt .

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