SEATTLE - A man who lives in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood was arrested Monday morning, charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana, two counts of distribution of marijuana, and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan said.
In March, a middle school parent reported to police that students were purchasing marijuana from the home of 51-year-old Alejandro Castillo, who lived a block north of Ballard High School.
Surveillance of the home and purchases by undercover officers revealed Castillo and his associates were repeatedly selling marijuana to minors including high school and middle school students from area schools, Durkan said.
“There was a gap in the law from the time I-502 passed until the legislature fixed the legal definition of marijuana that would have made the case extremely problematic for state prosecutors. We appreciate federal prosecutors stepping in to handle this serious case of dealing marijuana to minors,” said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
According to the criminal complaint, on various dates in April, Seattle police detectives saw teens from Whitman Middle School and Ballard High School approach the home where Castillo lives with his family members and associates.
Police said the teens would go to the back door of the home, be there for a few minutes and leave. Some were seen to holding plastic bags of what appeared to be marijuana as they left, investigators said.
On April 5, detectives said they saw 18 teens between the age of 14 and 18 approach the house in a three- hour period beginning just before noon, documents said. Most of the teens appeared to come directly from Ballard High School.
On four different occasions, undercover officers posing as teenagers purchased both marijuana and brownies laden with marijuana from Castillo or someone at the home, the complaint said.
On April 24, Seattle police served a search warrant at the home and seized approximately 1,200 grams of what was suspected to be marijuana which included approximately 99 joints, nine trays of suspected marijuana brownies, four shotguns, one rifle, six handguns, and $4,755, investigators said.
According to police reports, the home had previously been targeted in a home invasion robbery in which two men had fired a shotgun into the house, and Castillo fired back with one of his firearms, but the robbers fled and no one was hit.
Conspiracy to distribute marijuana, two counts of distribution of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute are punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Castillo will appear in U.S. District Court in Seattle Monday afternoon.