SEATTLE - Feds say drug smuggling ring tied to Grays Harbor County cedar mill
A Drug Enforcement Administration-led task force executed six federal search warrants in Grays Harbor County on Wednesday morning as part of the culmination of a lengthy investigation into methamphetamine trafficking in Southwest Washington, U.S. Attorney Jenny. Durkan said.
Federal agents arrested seven people.
The accused leader of the drug smuggling organization, a 34-year-old Amanda Park man, sought to disguise his trafficking activity with the operation of a cedar shingle mill, Durkan said.
Two other members of the smuggling ring were arrested and indicted following an arrest in in which six kilograms of methamphetamine were found hidden in the spare tire of their car, authorities said.
Durkan said the two men were tracked to a drug lab in Stockton, Calif., and were arrested by police on their return trip to Washington.
When law enforcement raided the Stockton drug lab, they seized more than 66 pounds of crystal meth, 88 pounds of liquid slush methamphetamine and disassembled assault rifles packaged for transport to Mexico.
The accused drug ring leader and mill owner is charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The other two men are charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.
Because of the large drug quantities involved, if convicted, the men would be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and up to life in prison and a fine of up to $10 million.
To date, federal agents have arrested 17 people believed to be tied to the drug cartel.