Big bust snares 20 in heroin/meth ring with cells in King, Pierce and Thurston counties

Federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration lowered the boom Wednesday on a drug-trafficking ring supplying methamphetamine and heroin to King, Pierce and Thurston counties.

Agents arrested 16 people, including Seattle resident Derrick Donnell Taylor-Nairn, 32, believed to be the ringleader. Search warrants served in Tacoma, Seattle, Auburn, Fife, Renton, Bonney Lake and Tumwater yielded more than a dozen firearms and 11 pounds of heroin.

“I commend the strong partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement that led to charges against twenty defendants responsible for pumping the misery of methamphetamine into south King County and beyond,” U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes said.

U.S. Attorneys filed charges against 20 people in connection with the case. They were scheduled to appear Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. The list of defendants includes residents of Bonney Lake, Fife, Tacoma, Puyallup, Auburn and Tumwater.

The arrests reflect a collaboration among multiple agencies, including the Tahoma Narcotics Enforcement team (TNET) and the Puyallup Police Department.

“Our partnership reveals the strength of federal and local agencies working together to make our communities safer,” Puyallup Police Chief Scott Engle said.

Court records show an additional charge against a Seattle man accused of being a “straw buyer” and attempting to acquire a gun illegally for Taylor-Nairn, who wanted to pass the weapon to one of his enforcers. Both men were prohibited from buying guns themselves, according to court records.

The straw buyer, a 49-year-old man, tried to purchase a gun known generically as a “Draco” and favored for its threatening look.

“Because these firearms resemble short-barrelled assault rifles, they are intimidating in appearance, thereby making them popular among street gangs and organized crime groups,” according to court documents.

Court records indicate that investigators used wiretaps to track Taylor-Nairns’ calls in September and October 2017, which revealed the plan to purchase the Draco for Taylor-Nairns’ associate. The trail led to a gun store in Federal Way. The alleged buyer ultimately tried and failed to make the purchase while under surveillance.

Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486, @seanrobinsonTNT