SEATTLE – Federal, state and local authorities arrested 33 individuals and seized guns and drugs during a 90-day concentrated enforcement initiative in the South King County area dubbed "Operation Down in the Valley."
The initiative was led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Valley Gang Unit.
"Drug trafficking, and the violent crime it spawns, is not limited to our urban areas," said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. "We must make our neighborhoods places for people to thrive. Hot spot' initiatives such as this seek to identify and root out the bad actors who are making our communities unsafe. I congratulate ATF and Homeland Security Investigations for their leadership, and our local partners who worked to get dangerous and violent offenders off the street."
At a press conference Tuesday, officials highlighted four offenders nabbed during the operation, Jorge Fernandez-Muñoz, Cedric Jackson, Terrance Jackson and Alonso Enrique Pelayo.
Fernandez-Muñoz is charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and was arrested Oct.17 outside the Southcenter Target store in Tukwila. He had set up a two-pound methamphetamine deal in the store's parking lot with a person working with law enforcement.
Cedric and Terrance Jackson are charged with conspiracy and multiple counts of distributing cocaine and crack cocaine. When arrested at his home on Oct. 18, Cedric Jackson had four firearms including a Tek-9; a Glock with an extended magazine; a Taurus .357 revolver and a Russian-made revolver. He now faces additional charges for being a felon in possession of firearms.
Pelayo was arrested Oct. 22 after selling several firearms to a person working with law enforcement. One of the guns was a sawed-off shotgun and two of the handguns had been reported stolen in Snohomish County.
"Criminals don't pay attention to jurisdictional lines or borders, which is why law enforcement partnerships that bring together a variety of enforcement authorities are incredibly important," said Brad Bench, special agent in charge, HSI Seattle. "HSI is committed to disrupting criminal enterprises at every level of their operation, from their associates in the U.S. to their leadership abroad."
In all, authorities took 28 guns and nearly 14 pounds of methamphetamine off the street as well as cocaine, heroin and prescription narcotics.
The charges contained in the complaints are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The Valley Gang Unit includes police officers from the cities of Kent, Renton and Tukwila, the King County Sheriff's Office, the Port of Seattle and the Washington State Department of Corrections. The Seattle Police Department, the FBI and the Washington State Liquor Control Board also participated in the initiative. The cases are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington and the King County Prosecutors Office.