Alleged videotape captures two in drug smugglingJOURNAL STAFF
$100,000 worth of drugs seized
As recent as last month, after a two month federal investigation, two men were arrested on drug trafficking charges after they were allegedly videotaped carrying six packages of cocaine into a Lake Stevens area home.
Edward Martinez, 21 of Yakima, WA and Cody Higginbotham, 20 of south King County were arrested. Both are said to have ties to the Norteno gang rooted in California.
“We have our own direct ties to California gangs, but we also see some from Eastern Washington,” said Snohomish County sheriff’s detective Steve Haley.
The arrest took place at a home in a residential area of Lake Stevens on Jan. 18 where 14.1 pounds (6.4 kilos) of cocaine was found, worth an estimated street value of $100,000 along with a handgun, and an uzi.
The two men arrested could face a minimum sentence of ten years in prison if convicted.
Kelvin Crenshaw, the special agent in charge of the Seattle division of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said, “the Nortenos are distributing narcotics throughout the state of Washington, and are using guns to further their criminal activities.”
With I-5 running border to border from Mexico to Canada, Washington has become a hotbed for trafficking and distribution of narcotics for gangs and crooks looking to make a substantial amount of cash.
In the June raid of 39 homes and vehicles conducted by the Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) and South Snohomish County Narcotics Task Force, approximately ten pounds of heroin, six kilos of cocaine, 200 grams of meth, 14 vehicles and $160,000 in cash was seized.
Those indicted in federal court in this operation were said to have connections with the Galindo-Zurita drug ring.
DEA Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Rodney Benson said, “During the past month (May/June 2005), the Drug Enforcement Administration and our partners in law enforcement have announced the culmination of several major law enforcement operations targeting poly-drug trafficking organizations operating throughout the northwest, which has resulted in the arrest of more than 400 individuals. While all these cases are not directly linked, these law enforcement actions show our commitment to dismantle the groups responsible for the flow of illegal drugs into our communities.”