Sunday, April 27, 2008

Heroin, cocaine dealer sentenced to 13 years

By Karen Johnson

Seattle Times staff reporter

A 28-year-old man who sold heroin and cocaine while attending classes at Cascadia Community College in Bothell was sentenced today to 13 years and four months in prison.

At Javier "Cookie" Sanchez-Vasquez's sentencing in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Judge Ricardo Martinez said the volume of drugs and cash found in connection to the operation was "one of the highest we've seen in federal court."

Sanchez-Vasquez was arrested April 9, 2007, when investigators found 35 pounds of cocaine and more than 22 pounds of heroine in his Kirkland home and a "stash house" he kept in North Seattle.

His arrest came after a nine-month investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force.

"The [organization's] tentacles were fairly wide, from South Seattle to North Snohomish [County] and even out to Kirkland," said Adam Cornell, special assistant in the U.S. Attorney's Office at the time of the arrests.

Investigators used a confidential informant and court-authorized telephone taps to confirm Sanchez-Vasquez as the alleged ringleader, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Sanchez-Vasquez and several of his associates, who are in the United States illegally, spoke the indigenous Mexican dialect Mixteco Bajo during their telephone calls, Cornell said. Mixteco Bajo is spoken by about 1 million people and is a regional language in southern Mexico.

In a report released today, Cornell called Sanchez-Vasquez "the head of the snake," because the college student "had time to take classes at community college while his underlings were running around delivering drugs."

Sanchez-Vazquez will likely be deported after serving his prison term, federal officials said.

Three others also have been charged and convicted for their involvement in the drug ring. Wilver Mira-Flores, 27; Carlos Velazquez, 31; Rodolfo Navarro-Gomez, 28; and Ramirez Castro, 31, each pleaded guilty to various drug-related crimes last year.

Investigators seized more that $1.1 million in cash Sanchez-Vasquez had stored in a various places around the state.

No comments: