Two Lynnwood brothers, who helped lead a Mexico-based drug smuggling and distribution ring, were each sentenced to over a decade in prison this morning in U.S. District Court in Seattle, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Orlando Rocha, 32, was sentenced to 17 years in prison and his brother, Everardo Rocha, 28, received a 14-year sentence. Both men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin, and conspiracy to engage in money laundering. The older Rocha also pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.
Both men are Mexican citizens who will be deported following their prison terms.
The investigation of the drug ring was launched in 2009 by the South Snohomish County Narcotics Task Force, which was later joined by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The agencies used a wiretap of cell phones used by the ring to learn about the flow of drugs and cash, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Members smuggled drugs across the border from Mexico, to a stash house in Arizona. The drugs were then transported to the Seattle area, and elsewhere, for distribution.
“These brothers, and other family members, led a group trafficking large quantities of extremely pure and deadly heroin and methamphetamine,” U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said in a news release. “These drugs not only destroy lives, families and communities, they are part of a culture of violence impacting both the U.S. and Mexico. At every location the conspirators controlled in Washington, Arizona and Alabama, they had drugs and firearms with very dangerous, high caliber ammunition.”
The brothers were among 18 members of the drug ring indicted in August 2011. A total of 15 have now been sentenced.