17 people busted in alleged methamphetamine ring that operated in the Tacoma area

An investigation into a drug trafficking ring netted 17 arrests across the South Sound Wednesday, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The year-long operation also took 37.5 pounds of methamphetamine and 27 pounds of heroin off the market.

Officers searched 10 locations around the region Wednesday.

Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies took part in the investigation. It resulted in 16 indictments, the Justice Department said.

“At the height of the opioid epidemic, the Pacific Northwest is also drowning in methamphetamine,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis. Puget Sound law enforcement agencies working with the DEA have hauled in 3,400 pounds of meth over the past year, Weis said — a record amount for the region.

Law enforcement began investigating the criminal enterprise in September 2018. They used undercover purchases and surveillance in their investigation.

Some of those indicted for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances are still at large, according to the DEA, but did not identify them. Others were arrested in the operation Wednesday for various charges, including distributing meth, heroin or both, the Justice Department said.

Those indicted by the grand jury include men from Tacoma, Lakewood, Puyallup, Spanaway, Auburn and Federal Way, as well as a woman from Olympia.

Law enforcement officers seized 4.5 pounds of meth, 13 pounds of heroin, $10,000 in cash and six firearms on Wednesday.

The DEA’s Tacoma office led the operation. Some of the other agencies involved included the Tacoma, Lakewood, Auburn, Bonney Lake, and Puyallup police departments and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

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Craig Sailor has worked for The News Tribune for 20 years as a reporter, editor and photographer. He previously worked at The Olympian and at other newspapers in Nevada and California.