By Diana Hefley Herald Writer
MONROE — A Monroe man accused of peddling drugs and making fake money was sentenced Wednesday to nine years in federal prison.
Christopher Frick, 38, was one of nearly three dozen people indicted last year as part of a lengthy investigation into a trafficking operation believed to be responsible for pushing large quantities of heroin, methamphetamine and guns.
Frick was accused of buying and selling meth from the trafficking ring. Prosecutors say Frick was one of the smaller players in the organization, buying ounce-quantities of meth.
Frick also was the target of a separate counterfeit investigation by the U.S. Secret Service. He was accused of “washing” $5 bills and passing them off as $50 bills in the Monroe-area, according to court documents.
Frick came to the attention of federal and local authorities in 2011 as they began investigating the Berrelleza-Verduzco drug trafficking operation. Agents arrested dozens of people last year and seized more than 20 pounds of heroin and more than 30 pounds of methamphetamine. Investigators also seized $190,000 in cash and 31 firearms, including 10 military-style rifles. Authorities say the weapons were bound for Mexico.
As part of the investigation, authorities wiretapped the phones of the suspects, recording conversations. Investigators alleged the Frick was overheard making drug deals. During a series of raids on March 29, Frick was arrested at his Monroe home. Investigators found a baggie of meth, a scale, syringes and marijuana. They also found a counterfeit $100 bill.
Prosecutors said Frick had a rough upbringing, spending most of his youth in and out of foster care and state institutions. He was a victim of abuse and neglect, federal prosecutors wrote in court papers.
The Monroe man has a lengthy criminal history, including nearly three dozen criminal convictions. He has a 1996 federal conviction for mail theft and numerous state convictions for drugs, forgery and other property crimes, court papers said.
“While this is doubtless at least partially due to the defendant’s unfortunate upbringing, he has continued to repeatedly re-offend, despite being offered all the services and opportunities available during his prior stint on federal supervision,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vincent Lombardi and Nicholas Brown wrote in court papers.
Once he completes his prison sentence, Frick will be under supervision for five years.
Frick is one of the first defendants in the case to plead guilty and be sentenced, authorities said. Other defendants are scheduled for trial later this year.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.