Burien man sentenced for delivering suitcases of meth to drug ring with ties to prison gang

TACOMA, Wash. — A Burien man who delivered suitcases full of methamphetamine – 30 to 40 pounds at a time – will spend more than 7 years in prison.

Gustavo Castellanos-Tapia, 38, was a former attorney from Mexico. He was a “significant supplier” of meth to a drug trafficking organization with ties to the Aryan Family prison gang, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman.

Authorities said he came to the U.S. in 2020 when the pandemic caused an economic downturn. He started out painting boats but began dealing drugs to make more money.

Eventually, he began delivering suitcases full of meth every few weeks, surveillance by police showed.

Castellanos-Tapia and 23 others were indicted and arrested in March 2023.

Throughout the investigation, agents seized from members of the drug organization about:

  • 255 pounds of meth
  • 830,000 fentanyl pills
  • 26 pounds of powdered fentanyl
  • Cocaine
  • 6 pounds of heroin
  • $668,000 of suspected drug money
  • 225 guns

Prosecutors asked for a 9-year prison sentence and pointed out that Washington state’s overdose deaths increased more than 27% in the year ending December 2023.

Castellanos-Tapia was sentenced on Friday to 90 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

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