Eleven people, including a Renton man were arrested this week in Washington and Nevada in connection with a large drug smuggling and distribution ring operating in four western Washington counties, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. An additional person was already in immigration custody.
The arrests coincided with the execution of 24 court-authorized search warrants for properties located in King, Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, Yakima, and Franklin Counties. The searched locations included a restaurant in Everett, an auto body shop in Sedro Wooley, and a car dealership in Mount Vernon, Washington.
Defendants made their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Seattle. Those arrested in Nevada will make their initial appearances there before being transferred to the Western District of Washington.
Ten of the defendants arrested to date are charged in an indictment returned Oct. 26, 2016 with distributing heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine in King, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom Counties. Additionally, two defendants are charged by criminal complaint.
Over the course of the six-month investigation leading up to the coordinated searches, law enforcement seized eight kilos of methamphetamine, two kilos of cocaine and nearly a kilo of heroin. Law enforcement also seized more than $117,000 in cash. Yesterday alone, agents seized an additional two kilos of cocaine, more than $180,000 cash and more than 20 firearms – including a loaded AK-47.
These defendants are currently in custody:
ERIC MARQUEZ, 24, Mt. Vernon, Wash.;
HECTOR HUGO GARCIA-GUTIERREZ, 26, Mt. Vernon, Wash.;
BALTAZAR REYES-GARCIA, 44, Camano Island, Wash.;
ANGEL SERRANO-CARRENO, 29, Mt. Vernon, Wash.;
HECTOR CONTRERAS-IBARRA, 32, Pasco, Wash.;
IVAN BETANZOS-TORRES, 26, Mt. Vernon, Wash.;
PABLO CATANO, 36, Renton, Wash.;
EDGAR GONZALEZ-TORREZ, 21, Mt. Vernon, Wash.;
OSCAR LUNA-MERCADO, 31, Everett, Wash.;
MIGUEL VALDOVINOS-CISNEROS, 18, Kent, Wash.;
RIGOBERTO CASTELLANO-HERRERA, 26, Mt. Vernon, Wash.; and
ANTONIO GOMEZ, 28, Burien, Wash.
The charges contained in the indictment 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.