An Issaquah woman has been indicted along with 14 other suspects on federal cocaine trafficking charges after a year-long investigation in the Seattle and Rexburg, Idaho areas, officials announced Thursday.
Six other people are in state or immigration custody, and law enforcement teams searched seven locations in Western Washington over the past month, seizing 20 kilos of cocaine, 16 pounds of methamphetamine, about $940,000 in cash and numerous cars and boats.
Georgina Fernandez, 22, of Issaquah, was arrested on Sept. 10, along with residents from Auburn, Renton, Kent, Shoreline, Bothell, Renton, Burien and Mexico, federal officials said.
“This organization was moving large quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico into our community,” said U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Sullivan. “Some of these defendants were supplying drugs to street gangs that prey on our kids, and threaten our safety.”
Officers used court-authorized wiretaps to track the activities of the Rojas drug organization and made the arrests as the Seattle area leader took delivery of 15 kilos of cocaine, according to a press release.
The investigation into the Rojas organization became more rigorous in November of 2007 when Oregon State Police stopped a Cadillac Escalade registered to a Seattle resident as it drove north on Interstate 5 near Salem. Auburn resident Bertario Santos-Rojas, 26 was a passenger in the vehicle, and a drug dog alerted officers that there were likely drugs inside the Escalade. Officers X-rayed the vehicle and found 31 kilos of cocaine and more than $11,000 cash hidden in a speaker box. The driver of the SUV and Santos-Rojas have been charged in that case in Oregon.
Afterward, the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Seattle Police Department and the King County Sheriff’s Office continued to investigate the Rojas organization. On Sept. 10, officers arrested a number of suspects. Those who were indicted include Fernandez, Santos-Rojas and:
• Jose Vidal-Barraza, 21, of Renton
• Daryl Shears, 43, of Renton
• Maura Meza, 24, of Renton
• Nestor Cruz-Santiago, aka “Rica,” 22, of Renton
• Maria Baez, 30, of Kent
• Felicia Bowen, 36, of Kent
• Simon Ruiz Garcia, 37, of Kent
• Ignacio Pena-Garcia, 32, of Bothell
• Baltazar Davila Cervantes, 24, of Burien
• Jesus Yordani Moreno Zuarez, 20, of Shoreline
• Christian Ruelas-Ortiz, 22, of Culiacan, Mexico
• Martin Miguel Velasco, 30, of Mexico
• Daniel Roberto Lopez-Lopez, 24, of Sinaloa, Mexico
Some of the suspects have been charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, and others with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine, officials said.
“This well established and sophisticated organization controlled by Sinaloan drug sources no longer exists in the Pacific Northwest,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Arnold R. Moorin. “The investigation is yet another outstanding example of law enforcement partnerships working together as one.”