Suspect in drug bust admits managing cartel’s Snohomish County narcotics supply

  • Thu Feb 4th, 2010 11:13pm
  • News

Herald staff

SEATTLE — The lead defendant arrested during a raid on a large drug ring with ties to a notorious narcotics cartel admitted Thursday that he was responsible for managing local storage and distribution of methamphetamine and cocaine.

Arturo J. Barajas Garcia, 32, of Renton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute drugs and conspiracy to engage in money laundering in federal court in Seattle. Prosecutors will recommend he be sentenced to up to 17 years in prison.

Federal authorities in October raided houses and apartments in Monroe, Sultan and Everett alleged to be tied to a suspected drug cartel believed to be behind an onslaught of violence in Mexico.

Investigators seized 22 vehicles, 28 pounds of meth, 24.2 pounds of cocaine, seven guns and $230,000 in cash.

Barajas Garcia admitted that he conspired with others to arrange the importation and distribution of large quantities of drugs from other parts of the U.S. and Mexico.

October’s raids in Washington were part of a nationwide roundup of drug smugglers tied to La Familia cartel, a powerful and violent drug organization based in the Mexican state of Michoacan.

The cartel is believed to be responsible for the torture and murder of a dozen Mexican police officers in July.