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

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

N3054V accident site. (Alaska State Trooper Photo)
Lake Stevens pilot, who lived ‘Alaska dream,’ died in Fairbanks crash

Former Snohomish County lawyer Harry “Ray” Secoy III, 63, worked as a DC-4 pilot in Alaska in the last years of his life.

Air and ground search and rescue teams found Jerry Riedinger’s plane near Humpback Mountain on Monday. (WSDOT photo)
Remains of pilot recovered near Snoqualmie Pass after Arlington flight

Jerry Riedinger never made it to Ephrata after departing the Arlington airport Sunday. Investigators have not determined the cause of the crash.

Federal prosecutors say the two men shown here outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, are Tucker Weston, left, and Jesse Watson. (U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia)
Lynnwood roommates sentenced for roles in Jan. 6 riot

Tucker Weston was given two years in prison Thursday. Jesse Watson received three years of probation in August 2023.

Lynnwood firm faces $790K in fines for improper asbestos handling

State regulators said this is the fifth time Seattle Asbestos of Washington violated “essential” safety measures.

A truck towing a travel trailer crashed into a home in the Esperance neighborhood Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Edmonds, Washington. (South County Fire)
Man seriously injured after his truck rolls into Edmonds home

One resident was inside the home in the 22500 block of 8th Avenue W, but wasn’t injured, fire officials said.

Ferry workers wait for cars to start loading onto the M/V Kitsap on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Memorial Day holiday weekend travel nightmare is upon us

Going somewhere this weekend? You’ll have lots of company — 44 million new BFFs — on planes, trains and automobiles.

Bothell family says racism at Seattle Children’s led to teen’s death

In February 2021, Sahana Ramesh, the daughter of Indian immigrants, died after months of suffering from a rare disease.

Boeing Firefighters and supporters have a camp set up outside of Boeing on Airport Road as the company’s lockout of union firefighters approaches two weeks on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Union firefighters reject Boeing’s latest contract offer

The union’s 125 firefighters on Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected the offer, which included “an improved wage growth” schedule

A “No Shooting” sign on DNR land near Spada Lake is full of bullet holes on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, along Sultan Basin Road near Sultan, Washington. People frequent multiple locations along the road to use firearms despite signage warning them not to. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
County pumps the brakes on planned Sultan shooting range

The $47 million project, in the works for decades, has no partner or funding. County parks officials are reconsidering its viability.

Suzan DelBene, left, Rick Larsen
Larsen, DelBene request over $40M for projects in Snohomish County

If approved, Congress would foot the bill for traffic fixes, public transit, LED lights and much more around the county.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.