Guns, body armor plates, fentanyl and heroin were found at a Lynnwood home on July 25, 2020, during the investigation of Jose Casablanca and Jessie Cruz. (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)

Guns, body armor plates, fentanyl and heroin were found at a Lynnwood home on July 25, 2020, during the investigation of Jose Casablanca and Jessie Cruz. (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)

Lynnwood man sentenced to 10 years for fentanyl operation

Jose Casablanca had enough fentanyl to make over a million pills, an undercover investigation found.

SEATTLE — A Lynnwood man was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday after being found to possess millions of dollars worth of fentanyl, heroin and firearms.

Jose Casablanca, 39, was arrested in July 2020 after an investigation uncovered he had enough fentanyl to make over a million pills, according to court documents originally filed in Snohomish County. He pleaded guilty to three charges in May: conspiracy to distributed controlled substances, possession of a machine gun and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

A detective with the Snohomish County Regional Drug Task Force was introduced to a man calling himself “Isaac” last March. “Isaac” was later revealed to be Casablanca, according to court documents. The defendant called the detective, who asked to buy two ounces of heroin. The detective and a partner made the purchase from Casablanca and his co-conspirator, Jessie Cruz, the next day. Cruz was sentenced to seven years in prison in April.

The two detectives went on to buy methamphetamine and fentanyl pills on top of the heroin in the next several months, according to the 17-page criminal complaint filed last year in federal court. The transactions took place in parking lots outside restaurants, stores and a tavern in the Lynnwood and Everett areas. Casablanca and Cruz used a Maserati and a BMW to make the sales.

The detectives also bought guns from the defendants, including a fully-automatic firearm classified as illegal, according to court papers. Casablanca had previously been convicted of felonies for robbery, burglary and drug offenses, which prohibited him from possessing firearms. Because of that, Cruz reportedly would transport the guns.

Casablanca’s first-degree robbery and burglary convictions came in 2006. The drug case, which involved cocaine, was in 2011.

Casablanca and Cruz were arrested at Arlington Municipal Airport last year.

They’d gone to the airport to meet with another undercover officer who was posing as someone who could get them access to a pill press to make fentanyl-tainted pills from their large stash of the potentially deadly drug.

A court-authorized search warrant at the pair’s Lynnwood home resulted in the seizure of large amounts of heroin, fentanyl, multiple firearms and ammunition, as well as body armor, court papers said. In the master bedroom, police found about 800 grams of heroin, 1,400 grams of fentanyl, $14,000 in cash and equipment that suggested the couple had planned to package and sell the drugs. A detective figured the fentanyl could be worth between $14 million and $23 million after it was pressed into counterfeit pills.

Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opioid whose rise has been attributed to a dramatic spike in overdoses both locally and nationally. The Drug Enforcement Administration says a fentanyl dose greater than 2 milligrams is considered potentially lethal, a task force officer noted in his report.

“The amount of fentanyl powder that (the couple) possessed at their residence has the capability to cause the death of roughly 700,000 citizens,” he wrote in the court papers initially filed in Snohomish County.

Both Casablanca and Cruz will be on supervised release for three years after their release.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Highway 9 work could disrupt travel through Lake Stevens

Construction is set for roundabouts on South Lake Stevens Road and one at North Davies Road and Vernon Road.

Logo for news use featuring Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington. 220118
Floatplane wreckage recovery in Puget Sound begins

The U.S. Navy will use a remotely operated vehicle Deep Drone 8,000, a barge and a crane in recovery efforts.

U.S. 2 was closed from the Money Creek tunnel to Skykomish on Monday evening because the Bolt Creek fire spread close to the highway. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
U.S. 2 closed near Skykomish as Bolt Creek fire spreads

The highway was closed from the Money Creek tunnel to Skykomish, mile posts 46 to 50.

This screenshot shows a man being hoisted to a rescue helicopter Monday after being involved in a plane crash near Lake Cavanaugh. (Snohomish County Sheriff's Office)
Brothers rescued after plane crash en route to Snohomish area

The two men, 78 and 79, were flying from Skagit County to an airstrip south of Snohomish when their plane went missing.

A woman was injured in an attack Sunday at Clark Park in Everett. (Everett Police Department)
Police: Purse snatching in Everett park led to stabbing

A Snohomish woman, 36, was arrested for investigation of first-degree assault and first-degree robbery.

A semi truck blows smoke out of its exhaust pipes while driving southbound on I-5 on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Reader: Did a tractor-trailer cover my car in diesel soot?

Probably not, according to a Department of Ecology spokesperson, since diesel emissions are getting “cleaner.”

Everett Memorial Stadium and Funko Field on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
City, county studying new outdoor stadium for Everett AquaSox

MLB facility requirements prompted government leaders to look at replacing Funko Field, either there or elsewhere.

Compass Health’s Broadway Campus in Everett. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Judge dismisses Compass Health lawsuit over Marysville man’s death

Joshua Klick’s estate argued his relationship with a counselor signaled negligence. A judge found the claim had expired.

Councilmember Megan Dunn, left, stands next to County Executive Dave Somers as he presents his 2023 budget proposal to her, Councilmember Nate Nehring and Councilmember Sam Low. (Snohomish County)
Somers: Federal aid creates ‘historic opportunity’ to tackle challenges

The Snohomish County executive’s plan focuses on public safety, housing, child care, climate — and mountain biking.

Most Read