A United Parcel Service driver loads boxes during a delivery, in downtown Seattle, Washington. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

A United Parcel Service driver loads boxes during a delivery, in downtown Seattle, Washington. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Lynnwood courier gets 2 years for role in cross-country drug ring

Alejandro Urquidez Medina tried to deal fentanyl and cocaine through UPS for “El Pariente,” an alleged leader of a drug trafficking operation.

LYNNWOOD — A courier for an alleged drug trafficking operation in Mexico was sentenced to two years in prison for delivering drugs through a UPS facility in Lynnwood.

Alejandro Urquidez Medina pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenor gave Medina two years in federal prison.

“While defendant Medina played a minor role in the overarching conspiracy to distribute controlled substances,” Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa Gorman wrote, “the seriousness of the drug trafficking he engaged in merits a sentence of imprisonment.”

In February 2022, an informant told DEA agents that a drug trafficking operation was operating out of Sinaloa, Mexico, according to charges from the U.S. District Court in Seattle. The informant said the group used tractor trailers to transport drugs across the border into Washington, including cities like Tacoma, Spokane, Kent and Yakima.

Each trailer transported a different drug, according to the charges. The Mexican-based boss, known as “El Pariente” or “The Relative,” had “multiple cells” operating in Washington, according to the federal informant.

Federal agents conducted four controlled purchases of drugs from El Pariente, delivered through couriers. Agents received about 4 pounds of methamphetamine and 2,000 fentanyl pills through the buys, DEA agents wrote.

In Oregon, agents seized 23 pounds of meth and over 40,000 suspected fentanyl pills from a vehicle occupied by two drug couriers involved in the operation, according to the charges.

In May 2022, during the fourth controlled drug purchase, the agents observed a drug courier driving a gold Honda Accord. After obtaining a search warrant to place a GPS tracking device on his car, agents tracked Medina to his apartment complex in Lynnwood.

The agents followed him to a UPS in Lynnwood. Medina mailed a package from the store. The package was later seized: It was filled with cocaine and suspected fentanyl.

In July 2022, federal agents arrested Medina outside his apartment complex in Lynnwood. In the search of his apartment, agents entered Medina’s bedroom and seized scales, ledgers, thousands of suspected fentanyl pills and powder, “pounds” of heroin and 5 pounds of meth.

A federal grand jury indicted Medina in August 2022 on two counts of distribution of a controlled substance in King County, as well as one count each of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession with intent to distribute in Snohomish County.

“Drugs like fentanyl, methamphetamine, and heroin have a devastating impact on the community,” Gorman wrote. “More importantly, these drugs destroy the lives of those who use them, and the lives of the users’ families and friends.

Jonathan Tall: 425-339-3486; jonathan.tall@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @snocojon.

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