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Washington state drug arrests directly linked to powerful Mexican drug lord: Feds

January 5, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Washington state drug arrests directly linked to powerful Mexican drug lord: Feds

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A recently arrested drug trafficker from Snohomish County in Washington state allegedly left no uncertainty that his business was deadly serious.

At the end of November, the alleged trafficker met with a man at an area restaurant who claimed he could orchestrate the delivery of high powered automatic and other military-style weapons near the Arizona border with Mexico.

The suspected trafficker allegedly began the conversation by saying he worked for Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, The Herald reported.

The man offering to sell the automatic weapons was an undercover operative with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“The defendant explained to me that I would not be dealing with him if this deal went further, but with others who worked for Zambada,” the agent wrote in reports filed in Seattle’s U.S. District Court.

The agent added that if something went wrong, he was warned that those individuals would cut off his head.

As JammedUp News reported, the investigation concluded with the December 14th raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). which resulted in the arrests of the suspected trafficker, identified as Luis Venancio Cueto-Ruiz, and his brother Leonardo Cueto-Ruiz in Everett, Washington.

Federal agents found seized large amounts of drugs during the raid in the Everett area. (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

The sting transpired after the suspects allegedly delivered 22 pounds of cocaine to an auto repair shop.

Detectives also said that they seized an additional eight pounds of cocaine, seven pounds of heroin, and 24 pounds of meth.

Both brothers are now facing federal charges of possession of drugs with the intent to distribute. In court documents, investigators describe the two as not only having access to large quantities of cocaine, heroin, and meth but they also used counter-surveillance devices.

A third suspect, Gilberto Ulloa-Aguirre was a lookout in a van for a dry cleaning business to keep watch outside a restaurant where one deal was being arranged. The traffickers also described smuggling heroin into the U.S. in women’s shoe soles.

When Luis Cueto-Ruiz was booked into the county jail in Everett after his December arrest, agents filed the head of the Sinaloa cartel as his boss.

U.S. law enforcement officials consider Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel the largest transnational criminal drug trafficking organization in the world with a presence in 59 different countries.

One of the few known photos of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada” leader of the Sinaloa Cartel

The cartel has also been responsible for carrying out acts of violence on both sides of sides of the border.

Cartel members were the primary source of the heroin who supplied James Painter, a drug dealer in Snohomish and north King counties who was arrested in 2014. He’s now serving a 15-year sentence.

“I fell right into it, and my greed took me down,” Painter said at his sentencing hearing. “I destroyed a lot of lives. I deserve everything I’m getting.”

Sinaloa cartel operatives are also said to be linked to the primary suspects involved in the November 28th murder of Jorge A. Leal-Sanchez at a residence near Edmond, Washington. Leal-Sanchez was shot and killed by a masked gunman who came just as the victim was about to sell 1.5 pounds of meth in exchange for several thousand dollars in cash.

Leal-Sanchez was shot and killed by a masked gunman who came just as the victim was about to sell 1.5 pounds of meth in exchange for several thousand dollars in cash.

In November, federal agents also moved against what they have referred to as a “large drug smuggling and distribution ring” that allegedly operated Snohomish, King, Skagit, Whatcom, Yakima and Franklin counties.

Over the course of a six-month probe, investigators reportedly intercepted close to 18 pounds of meth, approximately eight pounds of cocaine and almost two pounds of heroin. They also seized over 20 firearms, including a military-style rifle, and close to $300,000 cash.

So far, 17 suspects have been indicted on 41 federal charges, including money laundering, drug trafficking, and conspiracy. The drugs allegedly were supplied by individuals based in Las Vegas and were transported to the area hidden in cars.

Overall, two dozen search warrants were executed in the case, beginning on November 2nd.

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