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; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Ciscoe Morris, a longtime horticulturist and gardening expert, will speak at Sorticulture. (Photo provided by Sorticulture)
Get your Sorticulture on: Garden festival returns to downtown Everett

It’s a chance to shop, dance, get gardening tips, throw an axe and look through a big kaleidoscope. Admission is free.

Members of South County Fire practice onboarding and offboarding a hovering Huey helicopter during an interagency disaster response training exercise at Arlington Municipal Airport on Tuesday, June 6, 2023, in Arlington, Washington. The crews learned about and practiced safe entry and exit protocols with crew from Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue before begin given a chance to do a live training. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish, King counties train together for region’s next disaster

Dozens of agencies worked with aviators Tuesday to coordinate a response to a simulated earthquake or tsunami.

Police stand along Linden Street next to orange cones marking pullet casings in a crime scene of a police involved shooting on Friday, May 19, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lake Stevens man identified in Everett manhunt, deadly police shooting

Travis Hammons, 34, was killed by officers following a search for an armed wanted man in a north Everett neighborhood.

Funko mascots Freddy Funko roll past on a conveyor belt in the Pop! Factory of the company's new flagship store on Aug. 18, 2017.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Lawsuit: Funko misled investors about Arizona move

A shareholder claims Funko’s decision to relocate its distribution center from Everett to Arizona was “disastrous.”

1 stabbed at apartment in Lynnwood

The man, 26, was taken to an Everett hospital with “serious injuries.”

A firefighting helicopter carries a bucket of water from a nearby river to the Bolt Creek Fire on Saturday, Sep. 10, 2022, on U.S. Highway 2 near Index, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Red flag fire warning issued west of Cascades

There are “critical fire weather” conditions due to humidity and wind in the Cascades, according to the National Weather Service.

A house fire damaged two homes around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 6, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Fire burns 2 homes in Marysville, killing 2 dogs

Firefighters responded to a report of a fire north of Lakewood Crossing early Tuesday, finding two houses engulfed in flames.

Multiple signs at Boxcar Park alert park users to a ban on kites at the park “effective immediately” on Wednesday, June 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett’s Boxcar Park cuts strings with kite flyers due to power lines

Safety is the reason for the ban at the park with the perfect breeze for kite flying.

Woman claims self-defense in nearly fatal Lynnwood stabbing

The Seattle woman, 35, told officers a man threatened her, so she stabbed him, according to police.

Most Read