Kingpin pays price for pushing drugs in county

SEATTLE — The admitted leader of an international drug ring must forfeit more than $1.2 million he and his crew made peddling cocaine and heroin in Snohomish and King counties.

Javier Sanchez-Vasquez, 28, on Friday pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and heroin. Sanchez-Vasquez, whose nickname is “Cookie,” faces up to 16 years in prison. He is expected to be deported to Mexico once he is released, prosecutors say. Five other men also have pleaded guilty to federal drug charges.

Evidence shows Sanchez-Vasquez controlled the group while he attended classes at Cascadia Community College in Bothell, according to federal prosecutors. He lived in Kirkland and rented a house in Seattle to stash drugs and money.

Sanchez-Vasquez once told an informant he was untouchable by police.

The organization was bringing drugs up from Mexico and distributing heroin and cocaine throughout Snohomish County and other places in the Puget Sound.

“They were regularly going up and down I-5 and the I-90 and 520 corridors,” Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Cornell said.

Cornell is a Snohomish County deputy prosecutor specially designated to handle drug prosecutions in federal court.

The investigation was shared by the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

Detectives found about $900,000 tucked inside hidden compartments in the vehicles used by the group. Secret compartments were found inside seats and door panels. Investigators also discovered 56 pounds of cocaine and heroin when they raided Sanchez-Vasquez’s houses.

Detectives got wind of the organization in 2006 after receiving a tip that a man nicknamed “Cookie” was supplying large amounts of heroin to an Everett dealer.

Investigators followed the man and tapped Sanchez-Vasquez’s cell phone.

The wiretap operation required the assistance of a special translator once investigators determined that the men were speaking Mixteco Bajo, a uncommon, indigenous dialect spoken in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Detectives recorded multiple drug deals in Everett, Marysville, Arlington and Snohomish during their nine-month investigation.

“This was an international drug trafficking organization. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get everyone, but we got the significant targets impacting this community,” Cornell said.

Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or

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