TACOMA, Wash. — A two-year federal investigation netted 24 arrests of members of a drug-trafficking operation with ties to a white supremacist prison gang and led federal agents to seize nearly two million doses of fentanyl, over 200 pounds of methamphetamine, and more than 200 guns during the course of the operation.
Federal officials said the operation moved drugs from Mexico throughout Washington state, Idaho, and Alaska.
“Not only are we seeing the drugs coming in from Mexico, but we’re also seeing the sheer amount of weapons that we seize. Some of those are going down to Mexico to fuel the violence of the cartels down there in Mexico,” Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent In Charge Robert Hammer said.
Last week, a grand jury indicted 27 individuals involved who were identified during the two-year investigation using wiretaps. Through a coordinated effort across multiple states last week, 24 people have been arrested and are in custody, while law enforcement is still looking for three others. Many of those indicted were in Pierce and King Counties.
According to officials, the individuals are:
Federal officials said in a press conference Monday that the organization, which has ties to the “Aryan Family,” a white supremacist prison gang, “cultivated a business relationship with the Sinaloa cartel to import and distribute a staggering amount of narcotics.” Investigators said 39-year-old Jesse Bailey was the ring leader, using his ties with the Mexican cartel to run the drug trafficking ring.
“Our combined efforts in this investigation seized enough fentanyl to kill everyone who lives in the city of Tacoma, the city of Seattle, and have enough lethal doses leftover to poison an additional 500,00 individuals within the Puget Sound region,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Jacob Galvin with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Seattle said.
"We are being inundated in this region with fentanyl daily," Hammer added, "We’re addressing the supply side, but we need to get together with our community members and have a conversation to address the demand side of it as well - the safety of our communities, and the lives of our loved ones depend on it."
Federal agents said the investigation is still ongoing, and they will also be working to trace the guns seized to see if they were involved in any other crimes.