The Department of Justice on Wednesday announced two indictments against 11 individuals for their alleged roles in drug trafficking operations.
Authorities announced that three drug trafficking efforts had moved more than 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine and “hundreds of thousands of fentanyl pills,” per a DOJ press release.
One day following a search of 14 locations in Washington and California, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Seattle Police Department (SPD), the FBI, and U.S. Attorney Nick Brown held a Wednesday press conference announcing the indictments and detailing the contraband the searches recovered.
“These individuals were bringing large loads of meth, heroin, fentanyl and cocaine from Mexico across the border and up I-5 to the Pacific Northwest,” Brown said. “Even when an RV loaded with drugs was pulled off the highway and seized by law enforcement, they weren’t deterred. The wiretap revealed various organizations continued to recruit drivers and vehicles to transport their drugs throughout our District.”
In total, the Tuesday operations recovered “more than two kilos of fentanyl, 4.5 kilos of heroin, ten pounds of methamphetamine and 67 firearms.” The bust also recovered firearms, ammunition, body armor sets, and ballistic shields.
“The amount of dangerous narcotics seized during this investigation is staggering,” acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Seattle Field Division Jacob D. Galvan said. “Just looking at the fentanyl seized, since four out of 10 fake pills contain a lethal dose, that was enough to kill 132,000 people. This investigation shows our state, local and federal partnerships are needed so we can keep our communities safe, healthy, and free from these dangerous narcotics.”
All 11 defendants named in the indictments were residents of Washington or California. They face charges of “conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute,” per the DOJ. The charges carry a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison due to the quantity of drugs involved.
One defendant also faces charges of “carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime” while another faces “conspiracy to commit money laundering” charges.