Members of prolific drug trafficking ring based in Snohomish County sentenced to prison

Three men convicted of multiple federal felonies for distributing fentanyl pills in Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.

Bradley Woolard, 42, of Arlington, was the leader of the drug trafficking ring. He was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison on 28 counts, including conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, illegal gun possession and possessing drugs with the intent to distribute them.

“Mr. Woolard ignored the destruction his drug trafficking caused in our community, instead being driven by the enormous profits he could generate off the addiction and misery of others,” said Brown. “Even after his arrest he tried to impose his will, threatening violence against others in the case and acting as if he is above the law.”

Co-defendants Anthony Pelayo, 34, of Marysville, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and a $150,000 fine; and Jerome Isham, 40, of Everett, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

All three men were also sentenced to five years of supervised release following their prison terms.

According to testimony and exhibits during trial, the case began in the summer of 2018, when law enforcement officers from the Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration obtained search warrants for Woolard’s home.

In July 2018, after obtaining search warrants, law enforcement officers found more than 12,000 fentanyl pills designed to look like 30 mg oxycodone prescription narcotics in Woolard’s home. The pills tested positive for furanyl fentanyl, an analogue of fentanyl and a controlled substance.

Over the course of multiple searches, law enforcement seized more than $1 million in cash and gold from Woolard’s five-acre compound, including cash hidden behind drywall, in a hole beneath a dishwasher and in the ceilings of outbuildings.

Investigators also discovered a hidden room containing 29 firearms and several thousand rounds of ammunition.

In 2015 and 2016, Woolard began buying fentanyl and furanyl fentanyl powder from China and taught himself how to make the pills, according to testimony at trial.

Woolard turned the pill press operation over to Pelayo in 2017, who continued manufacturing the pills at a rural compound in Snohomish County.

Jerome Isham was one of the conspiracy’s top distributors, with evidence at trial establishing that he was responsible for redistributing close to 100,000 illegal fentanyl and furanyl fentanyl pills over a one-year period between July 2017 and June 2018.

Woolard continued to help distribute the pills while seeking treatment for his own drug addictions at resorts in Costa Rica and Mexico, which cost him between $30,000 and $50,000 per month, which he paid for with the profits of his illegal operation.

Testimony at trial established that Woolard’s operation was capable of producing more than 2.5 million fentanyl pills, and that he regularly provided thousands of pills to other conspirators for distribution.

A total of 11 defendants were charged in this case and eight pleaded guilty. All but two of the defendants have now been sentenced.