By Diana Hefley Herald Writer
EVERETT — They were just youngsters when they started calling themselves the Waco Boys.
Now, police are calling the Waco Boys a street gang and say the men have been peddling large amounts of drugs for years in Snohomish County and beyond.
Three of the suspected gang members recently were indicted on federal drug charges. The indictments came June 23, a day before federal agents, detectives with the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force and Everett SWAT team members raided three homes.
The raids happened at two houses in Everett and at one on the Tulalip Indian Reservation.
Nine people were arrested, including the ringleader of the gang, according to court documents.
Investigators found 400 pills of suspected Oxycodone, a highly addictive prescription painkiller. They also seized six handguns, including one that was stolen, and seven vehicles.
Those indicted include Jonathan Tavares, Ryan Nicely and Jose Lugo.
Investigators say Tavares heads the Waco Boys. Court records show that Tavares has an extensive criminal history in Snohomish County. His first felony conviction came at the age of 15, according to court documents.
Nicely also has a long criminal history in Snohomish County, dating back to when he was a juvenile.
Detectives have been investigating the organization for at least three years. The Waco Boys have sold more than 1,400 pills to undercover cops and confidential informants since 2007, according to the federal indictment.
Many of those sales included hundreds of prescription pills, worth thousands of dollars on the street.
As near as investigators can tell, the group doesn’t get its name from Waco, Texas. It’s just something they call themselves.
“They were a large-scale dealer in Snohomish County. They didn’t control the market, but they had a considerable portion,” Everett police Sgt. Jay Baines said.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.