September 4, 2013 at 11:08 AM
Eight arrested in Western Washington drug raids
Eight people were arrested this morning during a series of raids targeting heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine traffickers in seven cities across Western Washington, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The search warrants were executed by federal law enforcement agents from the FBI, bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Postal Service, as well as Seattle police, at alleged drug stash houses in Vancouver, Covington, Puyallup, SeaTac, Tukwila, Seattle and Tacoma, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
A search warrant was also served on a restaurant in the South Park neighborhood of Seattle, the Juan Colorado, where investigators allege drug traffickers conducted business, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
The defendants will make their first appearance in U.S. District Court today at 2 p.m.
“The members of this drug trafficking conspiracy brought meth, cocaine and heroin to our communities preying on those with addictions to line their own pockets,” U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said in a news release. “This lengthy investigation led to seizures of illegal weapons as well as street drugs. This strong law enforcement collaboration is essential to keeping our communities safe.”
The investigation into the alleged drug trafficking organization began in November 2011, according to court documents.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said surveillance revealed the conspirators brought drugs into Washington from California and sold them at various locations ranging from auto wrecking yards in Auburn to restaurants at the Southcenter shopping mall and South Park.
“Mixing criminals, guns and drugs is a foul recipe for any neighborhood,” Interim Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel said. “This organization spread its rotten ingredients throughout Puget Sound.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said those indicted on charges of drug distribution are Jose Ayala Mazoraquil, 39, of Tukwila; Alfonso Rojo Lopez, 26, and Joseph Edward Bell, 62, both of SeaTac; Pedro Velazquez Gomez, 27, and Benjamin Castro, 45, both of Seattle. Three additional suspects were arrested on criminal complaints.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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