By Diana Hefley Herald Writer
MARYSVILLE — An undercover investigation into gun and drug trafficking in Snohomish County has ended in the indictment of four felons from Marysville, including a man who once ran a chop shop and meth lab in Arlington.
The group is accused of selling dozens of firearms to an undercover cop between October and January. The majority of the sales reportedly happened in the parking lot of the Tulalip Resort Casino. Guns also were sold from other parking lots outside businesses around Marysville and Arlington.
The defendants were arrested Wednesday morning. They were expected to make their first appearance a few hours later in federal court in Seattle. The indicted are Heather Chancey, Mark Jenkins, James Michaels and Curtis Van Putten.
All four are convicted felons and prohibited from possessing guns, according to prosecutors.
The trafficking ring was investigated by the Snohomish Regional Gang and Drug Task Force, Seattle police and the FBI.
“Our communities are safer when you take illegal weapons and drugs off the street,” task force Cmdr. Pat Slack said.
The defendants face years behind bars if they are convicted.
Chancey, 34, is named as the primary suspect. She is charged with 14 counts of gun and drug crimes. She allegedly trafficked dozens of weapons, including shotguns, rifles and handguns. The serial numbers on some of the guns had been scratched off, prosecutors said.
The Marysville woman, who also goes by Heather Slater, has theft convictions from 2008 after being caught in a check-kiting scheme. She later blamed her crimes on a drug addiction, according to court papers. She had a previous felony conviction for meth possession.
Chancey also was indicted on distribution of meth and using a firearm to further drug trafficking.
The three men were indicted for illegal gun possession.
In 2004, Van Putten was sentenced to eight years in prison after a lengthy investigation into a chop shop in Arlington. Police discovered 57 stolen vehicles on the property. Van Putten also was accused of dealing meth. He was released from prison in 2008. Van Putten, 43, has been a participant in the county’s drug court for a few months.
He opted into the drug court after being charged in 2011 with numerous felonies, including trafficking in stolen property, identity theft and meth possession. The charges stemmed from allegations that Van Putten sold a stolen tractor and kept stolen vehicles on his property. At the time of his arrest, he reportedly was carrying two baggies of meth.
Van Putten attended his weekly drug court hearing June 28. He was ordered to bring proof that he’d been attending mandatory 12-step meetings at the next hearing, scheduled for Friday.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.