Three from Lynnwood, two from Edmonds among 14 arrested in connection with Western Washington drug cartel

Three suspects from Lynnwood and two from Edmonds were among 14 arrested Tuesday for alleged drug trafficking in Western Washington following three wiretap investigations,  U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran and DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis announced.

Those arrested were scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Seattle Tuesday afternoon.

“With this third law enforcement takedown in six weeks, we continue to root out those who seek to poison our communities with fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine,” Moran said.  “Despite the challenges of tracking criminal activity during a pandemic, the dedicated men and woman of law enforcement continue to investigate and interdict drug shipments while building legal cases against these defendants.”

“With today’s operation we have surpassed 60 arrests of members of highly organized transnational groups with tentacles reaching from Mexico to Puget Sound,” Weis said. “They profit by pushing extremely dangerous narcotics such as methamphetamines, heroin and the worst of the worst – fentanyl.” Even before Tuesday’s action, the operation “took over 300 pounds of methamphetamine, 55 pounds of heroin, 41,200 fentanyl pills, 30 firearms; and more than $1. 3 million in drug trafficker assets off the streets,” Weis added.

Tuesday’s arrests come on the heels of two other major drug takedowns: On August 5, 2020, law enforcement rolled up a drug trafficking ring that distributed large amounts of fentanyl, heroin and meth in the Seattle area and North Puget Sound region.  During that investigation law enforcement seized more than14 pounds of heroin and 15 pounds of methamphetamine.

On July 28, 2020, law enforcement arrested 13 people named in an indictment for drug trafficking connected to the violent CJNG Mexican cartel. Much of the drug trafficking activity in that case was in the South Sound region, including the Kitsap Peninsula.

Tuesday’s takedown involves drug defendants who distributed fentanyl, meth and heroin in Seattle and North Puget Sound communities. They discussed or conducted their drug deals in a wide variety of locations, such as a Mexican restaurant in Kent, a bank parking lot at the Northgate shopping mall and a 7-11 in Snohomish County. The members of the drug distribution ring were frequently armed – one was pulled over after waving a firearm at another vehicle on I-5 north near Bellingham. In December 2019, law enforcement seized 10 kilos of methamphetamine, 1,000 fentanyl-tainted pills and a loaded firearm from the lead defendant in this case.

Those named in the indictments or taken into custody on criminal complaints include the following local suspects:

Gonzalo Villasenor, 23, Lynnwood

Jocelyn Leyva-Castellanos, 21, Lynnwood

Samantha Hernandez, 38, Lynnwood

Edgar Efren Olivas-Armenta, 43, Edmonds

Julius B. Supnet, 27, Edmonds

Prior to Tuesday’s arrests, law enforcement seized more than 8,000 pills tainted with suspected fentanyl, 22 pounds of heroin, 70 pounds of methamphetamine, one kilo of cocaine, two firearms and approximately $500,000 cash in drug proceeds. On Tuesday, law enforcement seized: 36 pounds of heroin, 1,600 suspected fentanyl pills, a pound of methamphetamine, and seven firearms.

“I’m grateful for the dozens of arrests and the seizure of many pounds of illegal drugs, including thousands of pills likely tainted with fentanyl,” Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said Tuesday.  “What’s far more difficult to count; the number of lives saved and the number of parents who have been spared the trauma of burying their child, thanks to the on-going partnerships between local and federal law enforcement agencies.”

Due to the amount of narcotics involved in this case, some defendants face a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison.

The charges contained in the indictments and complaints are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force, Seattle Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Skagit Interlocal Drug Enforcement Unit.  The investigation was supported by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). Local law enforcement agencies assisting with arrests and search warrants executed Tuesday include the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Office, North Sound Metro SWAT and the Mountlake Terrace Police Department.

18 Replies to “Three from Lynnwood, two from Edmonds among 14 arrested in connection with Western Washington drug cartel”

    1. Yeah really. The CJNG is not a small cartel. They have battled the Sinaloa and Zetas for years, and have territory over most of Mexico. They have taken out helicopters, ambushed and killed large groups of police, and have left many mass graves. The victims from this cartel alone is likely in the thousands. The leader is not too happy with Washington State either, as his daughter was recently arrested while trying to sneak into court to see her brother who had been extradited to the States.

      The US Federal Authorities and local police are the only reason that the Cartels have not killed mass numbers of people in the United States like the estimated 120,000 that have died in Mexico since 2013 from the Cartel wars there.

      Nikkita Oliver who has been driving the defund plan in Seattle stated in an interview recently that “as we strengthen those [social] services, we can continue to decrease SPDs budget, until we get to the place that they are no longer needed.” That disconnect from reality is staggering, and it would almost be funny if there were not people in power who actually took that seriously without thinking about the consequences.

      Hardcore Cartels are not going to stop killing people with bullets or fentanyl laced heroin, no matter how ‘nicely’ a Social Worker asks them to stop doing it.

      Ignored

  1. Rather than giving racists and or Russian bots a platform to harass your readers, this would be a good time to turn off comments, until after the election. Joseph Gilman’s previous comment about diversity was bad; it isn’t better now. Turn off commenting until after the election, as many newspapers have to do.

    Ignored

    1. I am not going to turn off comments but I am going to moderate much more closely and will ban readers who consistently violate our code of conduct. I may also turn off comments altogether for certain stories and ask people to write letters to the editor instead. More to come on that as needed. And to be clear, I personally do my best to verify all commenters as real people with real names. Newspapers do not do that, which is why they have given up on comments.

      Ignored

    2. So disagreeing that diversity is good is racist?
      Please explain. I guess only viewpoints that are agreeable to other commentator are allowed?
      The publisher and editor of My Edmonds News is of course free to ban to me or delete my comments, but I don’t see how that helps discussion of the issue.
      Russian Bots? Get over yourself!

      Ignored

  2. The reason there are huge violent drug cartels in Mexico is because there is a huge demand and market for illegal drugs in the United States and the willingness and ability to buy with abandon. We create the black market in drugs that is provided out of Mexico. The Mexican government is essentially corrupt and in business with the cartels and anyone who bucks that system is a dead person walking. You can arrest people in the dozens and people in the hundreds can and will continue to replace them. Until we have a proper medical model treatment and/or drug maintenance program for all addicts here, the cartels and the illegal drug trades will thrive and prosper in Mexico and other corruptly governed countries.

    We won’t do this, of course; we will just continue to waste money on cops; robbers and incarcerating large numbers of drug users and sellers which are pretty much the same population. Some people will always succumb to the lure of self medication to try to transform their lives and they will always need help that they mostly won’t get in our society. Our parks and public spaces will continue to be makeshift homes for the under served until something is done beyond the charity model in predominant use now.

    Ignored

  3. It is a supply and demand kinda thing.
    If there wasn’t the demand there wouldn’t be the suppliers.
    These alleged dealers will just be replaced with more dealers.
    These drugs bring so much pain and despair,
    as do alcohol, cigarette/vape, and doctor prescribed opioid.
    I just don’t think we can police away this problem.

    Ignored

  4. Dear editors of My Edmonds News:

    Joseph Gilman posits that diversity is bad. That is the very definition of white supremacy. Please let this be enough to ban his comments. You, My Edmonds News, are now complicit in perpetrating harm on our POC community members. Let this be enough.

    Ignored

    1. Pam, your comment is very clear; you only want to read comments from people that agree with you. While I might not agree with Mr. Gilman that “diversity is bad” (I am of Hispanic/Cuban heritage) I certainly support his right to state his opinion. We all should be heard unless “name calling” is involved, which is not nice. You referred to Mr Gilman’s statement as “white supremacy”, that is your opinion, and it is harsh. Kudos to MEN for keeping comments from taking on extreme name calling.

      Actually I would be interested in Mr Gilman’s thoughts as to why he thinks diversity is bad, does he just not like the term, or is he more comfortable living amongst his own (whatever that is), or has he experienced adversity in his life to make him think this way? We all have our own life experiences. Judging is easy, listening and learning is more complex. That does not mean you will agree with someone once you hear his story, but you cannot erase the fact that he has a right to his opinion

      MEN has this nice little box with an “x” in it that will make any person you don’t want to read “disappear” from your feed. This is a much more fair and just system to use instead of trying to shame a commenter by name calling or insisting they be banned from even commenting so others cannot read their comment.

      We fled Cuba, and 2 other countries that did this very thing. It is disturbing to read that some people want this same censorship here in America.
      Thank you MEN, all viewpoints deserve to be heard.

      Ignored

  5. Nobody answered my question except to ask to ban my lack of virtue signaling. It is quite a stretch to conflate a problem of diversity and assimilation with “White Supremacy”.
    I guess just saying it is enough these days, no one needs any facts, just yell white supremacy and the argument is done.

    Ignored

  6. Meth, heroin (and other opioids) and fentanyl are mostly abused by white people. (Look up the stats)
    It doesn’t look like diversity is the issue. It looks like not having access to appropriate services to treat addiction/mental health may be the problem.
    Mr. Gilman’s comments is the racist trope- dog whistle which maintains oppression.
    Maybe sir, you need to clean your own house before you worry about others’.

    Ignored

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