Feds Indict Cocaine and Oxycodone Distribution Ring
Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) working with local law enforcement today arrested several individuals and served search warrants at multiple locations following a three year investigation into a major cocaine and oxycodone distribution ring located in the Seattle area. All of those arrested this morning have been indicted for Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances and will make their initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle at 1:30 this afternoon.
Using confidential informants and court approved wire taps, investigators uncovered the group moving large shipments of cocaine into the Seattle area where the cocaine was often marketed in the form of cocaine base, a particularly potent form of cocaine. According to a search warrant affidavit unsealed today, members of the ring carried guns in furtherance of their criminal activity, including an Uzi semi-assault weapon, and threatened physical injury to others in order to enforce drug debts owed to them. In addition to dealing in cocaine and marijuana, the organization acquired substantial quantities of oxycodone from local pharmacies by presenting forged prescriptions, and having one of their own pose as an “answering service” physician supposedly authorizing the prescriptions. Oxycodone is a synthetic opiate, highly addictive, and its use is associated with respiratory depression and death at local hospitals. Cocaine base, also known as “crack” cocaine, is cocaine, in its most highly addictive form. It is smoked and is known to cause increased heart rate, anxiety, paranoia, uncontrolled aggression, reproductive damage, and death.
“The Drug Enforcement Administration, working closely with local law enforcement, has been engaged in the ‘Street Light Initiative,’ which shines a light on the ties between drug trafficking and violent gangs. Today, a significant blow was administered to a Greater Seattle based violent drug trafficking gang, the 74 Hoover Crips,” said Rodney Benson, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration in the Seattle region.
During intercepted conversations, co-conspirators referred to themselves as the major suppliers of drugs to the Central District of Seattle. In addition, they traded guns with one another as they accomplished their illegal activity. Multiple charged participants are members of the 74 Hoover Crips, a local Seattle street gang, known to be involved in narcotics trafficking. Proceeds from the drug distribution were used to purchase homes, cars, and businesses operated by the defendants. According to the search warrant affidavit, key players in the drug ring started a car lot – AutoPlex on Pacific Highway South in Des Moines, to launder the proceeds of the drug trade.
“Something that ATF has seen among street gangs, and particularly this gang, is that they use guns to protect their drug trafficking. We want them off the street before the violence can escalate in Seattle,” says ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Douglas R. Dawson.
To date, 26 defendants have been charged with participating in this conspiracy to distribute cocaine, marijuana, and oxycodone. Those persons include:
IAN ELTON FUHR, 25
In addition to today’s arrests, investigators conducted searches at homes or properties in Seattle, Federal Way, Kent, Spanaway, Des Moines and Tacoma, Washington. Agents seized 23 guns including several assault weapons, illegal firearms and stolen guns. In addition they seized two kilograms of cocaine base and powder, oxycodone, marijuana and more than $250,000 in cash. The government is moving to forfeit more than twenty cars, valuables and more than $3 million in property the defendants derived from the drug trade.
“This investigation has resulted in a significant dismantling of a major cocaine trafficking organization in Seattle and King County. This drug trafficking organization was operated by gang members through violence and intimidation,” said Captain Steven Brown, Commander of the Seattle Police Department Narcotics Section.
An indictment contains allegations that have not yet been proven at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), Seattle Police Department, King County Sheriff’s Department, Washington State Department of Corrections, Des Moines Police Department and U.S. Marshal Service. Assisting in the arrests this morning were the Washington State Patrol, Federal Way Police Department, and the Pierce County Violent Crimes Task Force.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington, at (206) 553-4110.