More than 35 people were arrested Wednesday as part of a major drug trafficking takedown across five Western Washington counties. They are among 80 arrests among four major drug busts in the past four months.
"Over the last four months, more than 80 drug dealing conspirators moving meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl have been taken off our streets where they preyed on destructive addictions and used gun crime to further their trade,” said U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes.
Wednesday's operation spanned King, Pierce, Snohomish, Skagit, and Thurston counties. Officials say they seized more than 12 pounds of heroin, more than two kilos of cocaine, a pound of methamphetamine, 124 pounds of marijuana, 41 firearms, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash as part of Wednesday’s operation.
“DEA is in a race to save lives,” Keith Weis, special agent in charge for the Pacific Northwest, said in a statement. “These strategic operations have stopped some of the most violent criminal groups operating throughout the Puget Sound Region from pushing dangerous drugs onto our communities most vulnerable members facing life or death struggles against addiction.”
Law enforcement used wiretaps and surveillance to take down the suspected drug traffickers, who moved cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, fentanyl, and marijuana, according to documents filed.
Some of the people arrested Wednesday were also involved in Seattle and South King County shootings and talked on a wiretap about getting firearms after being shot at by rival gangs, according to the Department of Justice.
Federal, state, and local officials worked collaboratively in all four major takedowns.
In February, five people were charged in connection to dealing crack cocaine in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. In March, 20 accused heroin and meth traffickers were arrested for operations in Tacoma and South King County. In May, members of two drug trafficking groups accused of distributing meth and heroin throughout Puget Sound were taken into custody.
The operations focused on Seattle, Rainer and Kent Valleys, and North Pierce County, because they are “‘hot spots’ of violent crime,” according to the Department of Justice.
Altogether the four operations seized 75 guns, more than 95 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 32 pounds of heroin, more than seven pounds of cocaine, ecstasy, fentanyl, more than $327,000 in cash, and 22 vehicles.