In the city of Seattle, A major drug trafficking ring operating across the country with ties to the capital was busted by federal authorities.
On Friday, the results of a 10-month inquiry were made public by U.S. Attorney for Washington’s Western District, Nick Brown.
In the spring of 2022, the nationwide sting was launched in Pittsburgh. Federal officials began following suspect Bryce “Benji” Hill, a central figure in the drug trafficking network, as he traveled from Washington to Arizona via wiretap. The seven other persons that were detained in Seattle this week are all connected to his arrest in January 2023.
There were “several very key players” detained and indicted, Brown added. “Our main goal is to cause as much chaos as possible within these institutions. When you make as many arrests and file as many charges around the country as we have, you’re bound to make a dent. But, this is not a one-and-done kind of job.”
“This national operation has shown the links that these cartel fentanyl trafficking groups will go to to get the pills into this country and into our communities,” said special agent Robert Hammer, who is in charge of Homeland Security Investigations operations in the Pacific Northwest.
Brown said a Mexican drug cartel was responsible for the shipment of hundreds of thousands of fentanyl-laced pills. A total of 90 people around the country, including seven in Seattle, were questioned during the course of the 10-month probe.
“Our goal is to penetrate the highest levels of a cartel’s leadership and infrastructure. The types of people who congregate here are redistributors and middlemen. Hence, we are not referring to street-level dealers, “Brown remarked.
According to the DEA, 2.4 milligrams of fentanyl is present in 6 out of every 10 contaminated pills. During this week’s operation in Seattle, the DEA reported seizing 27 kilos (about 60 pounds) of fentanyl-laced pills.
An estimated 162,000 lives were spared thanks to the seizure of 27 kilograms of fentanyl pills from a Seattle residence, according to DEA Seattle Field Division Special Agent Jacob Galvan.
Drugs and pills, according to Hammer, arrived in Washington “nearly every day” via automobile, package, or even wholesalers carrying suitcases full of pills through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
“With this, we are able to reveal their mobility strategy, which makes use of Sea-Tac to serve the area. Naturally, we’ll be investigating these leads, figuring out what led to the identified security holes, and working to shut them “repeated Hammer.
Brown stated that federal authorities in Seattle recovered 21 firearms, extended magazines, and ammo during a narcotics trafficking raid.
Some of them are from “suspect murderers,” and “local law enforcement” says they’ve been violent ever since they were kids.
Two more persons from western Washington were apprehended in Pennsylvania, bringing the total number of arrests to nine. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in addition to the methamphetamine and cocaine were confiscated by federal officials during the arrests.
The 90 suspects have indictments from multiple jurisdictions, including Washington and Pennsylvania. There are both state and federal charges against the suspects.