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December 2, 2013 at 10:18 AM
A suspected drug dealer was arrested last night after he rammed a patrol car, injuring an officer, Seattle police said.
Police, posing as drug buyers, arranged by phone to meet with the suspect to purchase an ounce of methamphetamine for $1,100, according to police. When the suspect pulled into a parking lot near the Northgate Mall for the prearranged purchase, officers drove up to arrest the man, police said.
The suspect twice rammed his 2003 Mercedes-Benz into a patrol car, but was pinned in by other cars, police said. An officer suffered a minor injury when the car was rammed, according to police.
The suspect, 41, was booked into the King County Jail on drug, eluding and vehicular assault charges. A search of the man’s car turned up methamphetamine and $500 cash, police said.
November 27, 2013 at 7:47 AM
Update at 12:16 p.m.:| The missing Marysville brothers have been found safe and are in protective custody.
MARYSVILLE (AP) — Marysville police are looking for two brothers, ages 2 and 3, who were taken Sunday by their biological mother who is considered unfit.
Police say the 30-year-old woman had recently been released from the Snohomish County Jail and took the boys after a visit with their grandmother, who is their guardian.
The Department of Social and Health Services deemed the mother unfit because she is homeless and depends on drugs. Child Protective Services says the boys are endangered and should be taken into protective custody.
November 20, 2013 at 3:58 PM
More than 30 suspected drug dealers and gang members were arrested this week following a months-long undercover operation run by Seattle police and the King County Sheriff’s Office in the area around Westlake Mall, according to law enforcement officials.
Seattle police said the investigation, dubbed “Operation Happy Holidays,” was initiated after receiving numerous reports of drug-dealing and gang activity near the Third Avenue corridor. During the sting, police purchased crack cocaine, powder cocaine, pills, and marijuana in the downtown core and developed cases against 40 people, according to police.
“We were specifically targeting gang members and dealers in this operation,” says SPD Gang Unit Sgt. Steve Jandoc, “we didn’t go after addicts.”
Police said the months long investigation resulted in the recovery of a handgun and evidence of crack cocaine manufacturing at a Georgetown motel. They say it was complicated by savvy street dealers..
“Dealers will sell marijuana,” Jandoc said in a news release, “but they like to get to know their customers before they’ll sell other drugs.”
The operation was led by Seattle police and the King County Sheriff’s Office. Other partners included the state Department of Corrections, King County Prosecutor’s Office, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“This operation was about helping downtown businesses and their customers as well as Metro Employees and transit riders downtown,” said sheriff’s Sgt Thomas Flanagan.
October 22, 2013 at 2:05 PM
Two owners and managers of crime-plagued Tukwila motels pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to maintain drug-involved premises, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In their plea agreements, Jaspal Singh, 37, and Kulwinder Saroya, 42, both of SeaTac, admitted they profited from drug dealing they allowed at the Travelers Choice Motel and Great Bear Motor Inn, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Singh and Saroya admitted they would collect or would direct their staff to collect a $10 entry fee for people who came to their motels seeking drugs or sexual services. The men would take the money and direct the customer to rooms to purchase drugs or sex.
Under the plea agreement, Singh and Saroya agreed to forfeit the two motels, their home in SeaTac, more than $265,000 seized from their home and bank accounts and a 2007 Mercedes-Benz.
Last week, the manager of a third Tukwila motel, The Boulevard Motel, also pleaded guilty to maintaining a drug-involved premises. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Lakhvir Pawar, 41, of Burien, will forfeit his interest in the motel and about $90,000 seized in August when the motel and the two others were raided and shut down by federal authorities.
A federal criminal complaint unsealed after the raids charged the three men with distribution and attempted distribution of crack cocaine. According to the charges, a paid undercover informant purchased cocaine in deals set up with motel residents by the motel managers.
Tukwila police said that during the past two years, the motels — within two blocks of one another — accounted for nearly one in six calls for service to the police department. The motels have been the scenes of rapes, assaults, drug dealing, prostitution and at least three overdose deaths in recent years, according to court documents.
“Since we shut these motels, the number of police calls to the immediate area has dropped by one-third,” U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said today in a news release.
September 16, 2013 at 10:02 AM
A Ballard man has been charged federally with selling marijuana to high school and middle school students, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Alejandro Castillo, 51, was arrested this morning on a criminal complaint charging him with conspiracy to distribute marijuana, two counts of distribution of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Castillo faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.
Surveillance of Castillo’s home a block north of Ballard High School and purchases by undercover officers revealed that he and his associates were repeatedly selling marijuana to students, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. The complaint says a parade of students would make their way from Ballard High School to Castillo’s house, where they would purchase pot and marijuana-laced pastries.
Some of those drugs found their way to students as young of 12 years old at middle schools. Police learned of the alleged drug house after a parent of a middle-school student complained when his son came home “extremely high” the night before.
According to the criminal complaint, Seattle police detectives set up surveillance and watched students from Whitman Middle School and Ballard High School repeatedly go to Castillo’s home and leave with plastic bags of what appeared to be marijuana as they left. Police also conducted undercover buys, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In one three-hour period beginning just before noon on April 5, officers said they watched “approximately 18 teenagers appearing to be tweeen the ages of 14 and 17 go to the Castillo residentce, staying just minutes before departing,” according to the federal complaint.
Police served a search warrant at the home on April 24, and found 1,200 grams of marijuana — about 2 1/2 pounds — nine trays of brownies, 11 firearms and $4,755 in cash. According to the complaint, Castillo said he would not sell pot to anyone under 13, telling them “you’re too young. Come back next year,” according to the charges.
Police said that Castillo had once fired a shot at two men armed with shotguns who tried to rob him. Nobody was injured.
September 4, 2013 at 11:08 AM
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.
August 27, 2013 at 8:11 AM
UPDATED: 1:55 p.m. | At a news conference in Tukwila this afternoon, U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan and Tukwila Police Department Assistant Chief Bruce Linton said that the three hotels at the center of the investigation have accounted for 17 percent of all calls for police services in the past year.
Despite intense efforts to educate and work with the owners, the properties remained a huge drain on police and a blight on the city , said Tukwila Mayor Jim Haggerton.
Durkan said investigators believe the owners actively profited from criminal activity and that residents were involved. Typically, she said, the owners would direct potential customers to certain rooms for drugs and sexual services and take a cut of the profits.
Durkan said this is not only a “new day for a part of the city of Tukwila,” but also a warning to other owners of similar hotels and properties.
In addition, she said, this demonstrates how the US Attorney’s office will not only prosecute criminal activity but will actively use the tools of forfeitures and seizures to force compliance with the law
Federal and state law-enforcement officers poured into Tukwila along Highway 99 this morning seizing three motels whose operators are suspected of participating in illegal drugs and prostitution.
The operation involved about 200 officers at the scene and another 200 who helped develop the case during a year-long investigation that culminated in this morning’s raid, according to Tukwila Police Commander Eric Drever.
A federal criminal complaint, filed last week and unsealed today, charges seven people –including the managers and owners of the three motels — with attempted distribution and distribution of crack cocaine. According to the charges, a paid undercover informant purchased cocaine in deals set up with hotel residents by the hotel managers during the past month.
The complaint identified three of the defendants as Jaspal Singh, Lakhvir Pawar and Kulwinder Saroya, who federal prosecutors say ran and owned the hotels: the Great Bear Motor Inn, The Boulevard Motel and the Traveler’s Choice
In addition, a detailed, 48-page civil complaint filed in U.S. District Court seeks to forfeit the properties as proceeds from illegal transactions, including drug dealing and money laundering.
The complaint says that the hotels have been the focus of an inordinate amount of crime and calls for police. It states that the problems date back several years, however during 2011 and 2012, almost one of every six calls for service to Tukwila Police Department were to those three motels. “The crimes for which police responded to the Target Motels include, among others: rape, robbery, assault, drug transaction, gun crimes, prostitution and stolen property,” the civil complaint says.
“The investigation revealed that the owners of the properties are engaged in, encouraging and making significant cash profits from criminal activity at the Target Motels,” wrote Special Agent Joe Miller of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in a sworn affidavit.
A federal warrant authorizing this morning’s raid was unsealed this morning. Several people have been taken into federal custody. Some individuals were picked up by local authorities on other outstanding warrants.
July 1, 2013 at 5:44 AM
By DOUG ESSER
UPDATE: 12 p.m. | One man died and dozens of people were treated after overdosing on a drug called Molly at a weekend music festival at the Gorge Amphitheatre in central Washington, authorities said.
More than 25,000 people attended the sold-out, two-day Paradiso Festival, which features dozens of electronic music performances.
An autopsy was scheduled Monday on a 21-year-old Des Moines man, said Chelan County Coroner Wayne Harris. The man died Sunday at Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee. His name was not released.
He was one of seven people from the music festival who were taken to the hospital. Three remained in serious condition, said Kathy Hamilton, director of community relations.
Quincy Valley Medical Center, the closest hospital to the amphitheater, treated and released about 70 other concert-goers in its emergency room from Thursday through Sunday, spokeswoman Michele Wurl said, with at least 40 related to drugs and alcohol. The small, rural hospital has no intensive care unit and serious cases were transferred.
“We deal with the Gorge all summer long,” Wurl said. “What we’re seeing this year is much higher acuity — more severe — in the drug use,”
Molly seemed to be a generic name for a cocktail of drugs, she said.
“They don’t even know what they’re taking,” Wurl said. “They take a hit and 30 to 45 minutes later they take a second. So they get them maxing out one after another. … We’re not talking about too much drinking or smoking a little marijuana.”
Deputies handled 62 calls for service at the Paradiso Festival and arrested 23 people for various charges, including possession or delivery of controlled substances, trespassing, obstructing a public servant, assault and disorderly conduct, the Grant County sheriff’s office said in a statement. The concert promoter contracts with the sheriff’s office to supplement security.
The number of arrests is not unusual for a concert at the Gorge, said Undersheriff Dave Ponozzo. Some people seen by medical personnel were using Molly or MDMA, he said. MDMA is also known as ecstasy.
“Most in attendance were very respectful people to us and to one another,” Ponozzo said in an email. “I found them to be very social people, many of who went out of their way to thank us for being there.”
Most of the audience stays at a campground on the site overlooking the Columbia River about 120 miles east of Seattle.
Concerts at the Gorge put pressure on the Quincy Valley Medical Center emergency room, which typically sees about nine people a day. The Paradiso Festival was the third concert this year at the Gorge.
Meanwhile, a 20-year-old Seattle man reported missing after the concert has been located and is with his family, according to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.
June 13, 2013 at 5:27 PM
The King County Board of Health may take action next week to enact a proposal to require drug companies whose medications are used in King County to finance and provide a secure medicine-return system.
The proposed program would be the second such system in the country. It would affect manufacturers of both prescription and over-the-counter drugs for residential use, and would add an estimated 2 cents per prescription, the board of health said. Public Health – Seattle & King County would oversee the return system, which would rely primarily on secure drop boxes at retail pharmacies and law-enforcement offices. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has opposed such efforts.
The board, which will convene at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, June 20, in the Metropolitan King County Council Chambers on the 10th floor of the Courthouse at 516 Third Ave. in Seattle, will take public testimony after an executive session, which is expected to last about 30 minutes.
Written comments can be submitted in writing or to email@example.com. For more information, go to http://www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/BOH.aspx.
May 16, 2013 at 3:45 PM
King County sheriff’s deputies arrested six people at a Shoreline house Thursday and seized black-tar heroin, methamphetamine, firearms, stolen property, a pipe bomb and $5,000 in cash, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said.
Deputies served a search warrant early Thursday in the 1300 block of North 169th Street after neighbors complained of suspicious activity at the rental house, including vehicles making short visits, said Sgt. Katie Larson.
The pipe bomb was determined to be unstable for transport and was detonated at the scene, Larson said.
Two firearms — a shotgun and handgun — were recovered, as were homemade blasting caps, she said.
The stolen property included computers, power tools, computers and musical instruments and equipment, all valued at more than $100,000, according to Larson.
Investigators believe the six suspects — three men and three women — traded drugs for items taken in car prowls and burglaries in the Seattle area. But they also were looking into whether the suspects stole items, Larson said.
Deputies previously served a search warrant on the house in August and arrested tenants with ties to white supremacist activities, Larson said. In that case, deputies seized drugs, weapons, body armor and possible blasting caps, she said.
Other people were arrested Thursday, although one might be from the previous group, Larson said.
The house was cleaned up and the landlord rented it again, but it returned to “right back to where it was,” Larson said.
About The Today File
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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