Six charged federally in connection with drug distribution ring operating in Skagit and Whatcom Counties – Department of Justice

Seattle – Six members of a drug distribution conspiracy operating in Skagit and Whatcom counties were charged federally today with various drug and firearms crimes, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.  Enoc Martinez Lopez, aka “Victor,” 27, of Marysville, Washington, was the main supplier of drugs to other co-conspirators. He is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, distribution of controlled substances (including heroin and fentanyl), and distribution of fentanyl.  Martinez Lopez appeared in U.S. District Court today, and has a detention hearing scheduled for tomorrow.
The other defendants will make their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Seattle over the next few days.
“Drug trafficking organizations are spreading fentanyl pills throughout our district – from rural areas to urban centers,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.  “I commend the coordinated efforts in Whatcom and Skagit Counties to expeditiously interdict these potentially deadly drugs.”
The criminal complaint details how various defendants interacted with supplier Martinez Lopez and other drug customers.  In April 2022, investigators initially saw Martinez Lopez meeting with defendant Adam Wisniewski, 41, of Bellingham, Washington at the Silver Reef Casino in Whatcom County.  Wisniewski was later arrested with more than 1,000 fentanyl pills, fentanyl powder and a firearm.  Wisniewski was arrested a second time in June 2022 with two firearms and fentanyl pills. Wisniewski is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute, as well as two counts of illegal possession of firearms.  Wisniewski cannot legally possess firearms due to a felony drug possession conviction (2011) in Whatcom County Superior Court.
Defendant Manuel Garcia Munoz, 21, of Marysville, Washington is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and distribution of heroin for a June 2022 sale of heroin.
Defendant Casey Landis, 39, of Bellingham, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute including methamphetamine and fentanyl.  In October 2022, Landis left a fanny pack on a counter at Silver Reef Casino that was found to contain fentanyl and meth. An analysis of Landis phone revealed extensive drug trafficking text messages with drug supplier Martinez Lopez and with drug customers.
Defendant Jesse Witteveen, 37, of Maple Falls, Washington, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute.  The criminal complaint alleges that on November 1, 2022, Witteveen tried to flee from police and tossed a bag of drugs out of his car window before he was taken into custody in rural Whatcom County.  A search of Witteveen’s car and residence turned up fentanyl pills, meth, multiple cell phones, firearms parts, and ammunition.
Finally, defendant Corbin Saunders, 43, of Bellingham, is charged with unlawful possession of firearms.  Saunders is the owner of a Tesla that was observed leaving a known drug involved residence in Bellingham.   The vehicle was stopped, and a drug dog alerted that it detected the odor of drugs in the vehicle.  Using a court authorized search warrant, law enforcement recovered methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin.  The Tesla also contained an AR-15 style rifle and a 9mm handgun.  Corbin Saunders cannot legally possess firearms due to felony convictions for theft and forgery and convictions for possession of heroin and methamphetamine, all in Whatcom County Superior Court.
“The results of today’s sweeping law enforcement operations show that the DEA, in close collaboration with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners, continue our collective commitment to safeguard our communities from the dangers of fentanyl poisoning by individuals who attempt to sell fake pills, often times doing so while armed,” said Jacob D. Galvan, Acting Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division. “This successful joint law enforcement operation has ensured these dangerous drugs, weapons, and dealers have been taken off our streets, ultimately making the communities we all live in safer places for everyone.”
Since the beginning of the investigation and through yesterday’s takedown, law enforcement has seized: 11.5 kilos of fentanyl pills, 2.8 kilos of fentanyl powder, 5.7 kilos of cocaine, 1.6 kilos of heroin and 8.7 kilos of crystal meth, more than $186,000 in cash and nine firearms.
The charges contained in the complaint 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.
This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
The investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bellingham Resident Office (DEA), working with the Whatcom County Drug and Gang Task Force, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, the Skagit County Interlocal Drug Enforcement Unit, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI),  Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington State Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force, the CBP Air & Marine Operations,  the Lummi Police Department, the Everson Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Hobbs.
Cocaine
whatcom_drug_case_complaint.pdf
Victim Witness Assistance
Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect
 
Learn More
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Our nation-wide commitment to reducing gun crime in America
 
Learn More

source

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *