Eleven members of a heroin and methamphetamine trafficking ring based out of the northern Puget Sound region have been arrested. The arrests, announced by U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes, followed a six-month investigation. The six-month investigation was spearheaded by the FBI, DEA, and a group of local Washington State police agencies.
According to Hayes, search warrants were executed at 30 separate locations at the same time. In total, 18 firearms, 10 pounds of heroin, 20 pounds of methamphetamine, and over $500,000 in cash were seized at the time the warrants were served. According to DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis, the removal of the trafficking ring will thwart the import of foreign-sourced heroin in the Pacific Northwest.
According to law enforcement, the leader of the ring was Jose Verduzco Urias. Verduzco owns homes in Snohomish and Sedro-Wooley, both of which were searched during the operation. Of the other 10 arrested, the majority was from Washington State but some were from Arizona and Oregon. It is the belief of law enforcement that those arrested are believed to hold ties to Mexican drug cartels.
Drug Trafficking in Washington
While those arrested in this sweep are facing federal prosecution, they are also at risk of state charges as well. In Washington State, drug trafficking includes three major crimes: drug cultivation, drug manufacturing, and drug distribution.
Cultivation is primarily related to the growing of marijuana plants. While it's legal to own small amounts of marijuana in Washington State, growing any amount of marijuana without a license is a felony.
Generally speaking, drug manufacturing is the creation of any illegal drug other than cultivating marijuana. Manufacturing charges can include possessing the finished product or the equipment and chemicals needed to manufacture narcotics. It's not uncommon for individuals charged with manufacturing to also face possession with intent to distribute charges as well. One of the most common illegal substances involved in drug manufacturing charges is methamphetamine.
The most common of the three, drug distribution involves the possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell it. While the intent of an individual is important, law enforcement will typically charge anyone with large amounts of narcotics with distribution. These charges can be especially difficult to defend given that it is difficult to prove your intent.
Drug Trafficking Attorneys in Seattle Washington
Seattle criminal defense attorney Steve Karimi is dedicated to defending the rights of the accused. He knows your future depends on getting the best possible outcome. Steve Karimi is a former prosecutor who has dedicated his practice to criminal defense law. He has the experience to help you through the legal process and guide your decision making. The Law Offices of Steve Karimi understand the criminal justice system is daunting. That's why they are available to you for any questions or concerns you may have about your case. Contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi to set up your free consultation today.