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Everett woman working for Mexican drug organization is sentenced to prison

SEATTLE – An Everett woman heavily involved with a Mexican drug trafficking organization operating in the Seattle-area was sentenced Friday to five years in prison following a probe by the Seattle-area Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Micalia Valenzuela, 32, served as a drug courier and split her time between Washington and Mexico. Valenzuela was captured on court authorized wiretaps discussing drug distribution, obtaining weapons to send back to Mexico and advocating violence against targets in Mexico. When she was arrested last March, investigators found approximately one ounce of heroin, together with smaller amounts of methamphetamine and cocaine; a loaded revolver and ammunition; body armor; and a cartel "shopping list" of firearms, including AK-47s and other assault weapons. In her plea agreement, Valenzuela admitted distributing heroin in November 2011.

"The same cartels responsible for violence in Mexico have infiltrated Washington communities," said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. "These are people who resort to violence to protect their criminal enterprise. HSI is focused on rooting these operatives out of our communities by disrupting every level of their illicit business."

The investigation, known as "Operation Black ICE," resulted in 34 indictments, including Valenzuela’s father and other family members. It also led to the seizure of more than 20 pounds of heroin; more than of 30 pounds of methamphetamine, nearly $200,000; and 31 firearms , including 10 assault weapons. Ten members of the conspiracy have pleaded guilty. Trial for the other defendants is scheduled for May 6.

In addition to HSI, the other OCDETF agencies participating in the case included the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Snohomish Police Department. Several other OCDETF members also provided substantial assistance, including the Seattle, Lake Stevens, Everett, Monroe and Marysville police departments; the Eastside Narcotics Task Force; the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force; the Skagit County Inter-local Drug Enforcement Unit; the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department; the Washington State Patrol; and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Offices of Field Operations and Border Patrol. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington.