Major Puget Sound drug-trafficking ring busted, dozens arrested in raids

Three dozen people are behind bars in a major drug ring takedown, with drugs, cash, guns, and cars all confiscated.

The latest raid on Wednesday brought out more than 500 officers to 45 locations. They raided homes from Everett to Tacoma.

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​It's all part of a massive effort to tackle violent crime – much of it, in South King County.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said the huge effort started last summer after the Des Moines police chief went to federal agencies for help.

"They were having with violent crime and in particular with folks moving between jurisdictions," said U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes. "No local jurisdiction can tackle that alone," she said.

That started one of the largest-ever federal and local collaborations to tackle crime.

A neighbor's video in Capitol Hill shows one of the 45 raids from early Wednesday morning. People in neighborhoods all over the Puget Sound woke up to SWAT teams pounding on doors.

The June raid brought in 27 pounds of heroin, about 9 pounds of cocaine, a pound of meth, and 124 pounds of marijuana, as well as 50 guns, and more than $120,000 in cash.

The drug ring takedown today is the fourth this year, and the biggest yet in terms of people arrested – 36 people, all accused of being involved with drug trafficking.

There are a total of 44 defendants and investigators are still looking for the rest of the suspects.

Agencies involved with the takedown talked about the project for the first time in Kent on Wednesday.

"The level of cooperation you're seeing today is unprecedented," said Carmen Best, the Seattle police chief.

The project involves the Seattle, Des Moines and Puyallup police departments, as well as the U.S. Attorney's Office, the DEA, and the FBI -which brought in hundreds of agents and used wire taps.

"That allowed us to listen in in real time," said U.S. Attorney Hayes.

Hayes said instead of just catching the small-time dealers on the street, wire-tapping allowed them to nab criminals higher up on the chain.

"The level of violence committed by these individuals has been tremendous and detrimental to the South Sound community for many years," said Jay Tabb, the FBI special agent in charge.

Many of the suspects arrested Wednesday morning appeared in federal court the same afternoon.

The DEA said one of the ring leaders is Michael Scott Morgan Jr., who goes by the street name "Dose."

"We believe the Michael Morgan drug-trafficking operation may be a significant source of the drug supplied and distributed by these gangs," said Keith Weis, the DEA special agent in charge.

The DEA said the arrests this year will help slow a flood of drugs coming in from Mexico.

"It cripples the cartel's ability to operate up here. Really the focus of this operation was to break the link between these trafficking groups and localized dangerous groups in the streets," Weis said.

The Des Moines police chief says the work from the February, March, and May takedowns are already making a difference.

"We are seeing a reduction in violence and shootings in South King County, so we are seeing positive results," said Chief Ken Thomas of the Des Moines Police Department.

Thomas says the model has been hugely successful and it's something they plan to keep doing moving forward.

KIRO 7 live-streamed a briefing with officials Wednesday afternoon. Watch it recorded below.

Live: Officials giving briefing after a major meth and heroin bust in Washington state. Around 40 people were arrested. Deedee Sun is there and will have a full report on KIRO 7 News starting at 5.

Posted by KIRO 7 News on Wednesday, June 6, 2018

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