Drugs, weapons, cash seized in multistate raid involving Mexican drug suppliers

The investigation began in Bremerton 18 months ago.

Drugs, weapons, cash seized in multistate raid involving Mexican drug suppliers

An investigation that began with drug seizures by the Bremerton Police Department 18 months ago culminated in a multi-state raid Wednesday and Thursday that saw more than 400 federal, state a local law enforcement officers arrest more than 30 people and seize large quantities of illegal drugs, weapons and cash, according to a Justice Department statement released December 6.

What was described as a multistate narcotics ring was led by drug cartel members in Mexico and was helped by a money laundering business based in Manhattan Beach, Calif., according to law enforcement officials. Heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine were distributed in seven states including counties throughout Washington, according to the relaese.

The Bremerton Police Department had more than 20 officers engaged in the drug sweeps on Wednesday and Thursday, BPD Lt. Kevin Crane said.

“It started with a local drug investigation here in Bremerton, and quickly expanded,” he said. “Once it got to a level beyond our means, we reached out to the DEA.”

Drug Enforcement Agency offices in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Phoenix were involved in the drug busts that saw approximately 9,500 grams of heroin, 200 grams of methamphetamine and more than 1,000 fentanyl pills seized, Crane said.

Officers confiscated more than 13 pounds of heroin from the compartment of a truck “driven by a frequent smuggler for the ring,” on November 28, the Justice Department said.

Crane said law enforcement officers seized more than 30 firearms and $100,000 in cash in the arrests, which followed a lengthy investigation that saw coded cell phone conversations and intercepted social media communications, according to the Justice Department.

BPD officers said the investigation into the multi-million dollar operation continues.

“We’re going to be working on this for a long time,” Crane said.

Gregory D. Werber, the owner of the Manhattan Beach company that allegedly helped launder money for the drug operation using cryptocurrency, was arrested and appeared in federal court in the Central District of California on Thursday. Other suspects are being prosecuted in the Western District of Washington courthouse in Tacoma.

United States Attorneys Marci Ellsworth and Karyn Johnson are the lead prosecutors.

“I am very proud of the hard work and dedication of all the officers and agents that made this operation a reality,” BPD police chief James Burchett said.

More in News

.
Update: Suspect confesses to killing Port Orchard man during botched pot deal

19-year-old dealer shot during scuffle at South Kitsap parking lot

.
19-year-old admits to killing Port Orchard man

Gig Harbor man turns himself in and is booked on first-degree murder. Another suspect is also booked.

Map view of Strickland property. Courtesy photo
City of Poulsbo looking to buy resident’s property next to PERC site

Ellen Strickland wants to sell her property to city instead of developers

.
Towne Square’s new ownership has big plans for reimagined mall

Klein, Fenner see a remix of restaurants, retail in refurbished property

.
Survey about NKSD: Quality good, COVID not

A majority of respondents to a survey about the North Kitsap School… Continue reading

.
Bremerton retiree donates $250,000 each to four Kitsap nonprofits

Donor gives $1.875 million in total to seven groups serving the environment, arts and children

.
Proposition 2 seeks to upgrade Kitsap 911’s emergency communications system

A 1/10th of 1 percent sales tax increase would pay for $41 million modernization

A volunteer helps pick up trash as part of Puget Soundkeeper’s Poulsbo cleanup. Tyler Shuey/North Kitsap Herald photos
Puget Soundkeeper holds cleanup events in Kitsap

Seattle-based water quality advocacy group looking to expand footprint

Most Read