For the Reporter
A Drug Enforcement Administration task force has arrested 15 people, two Auburn residents among them, while it continues to search for an additional six defendants whom the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington has charged in connection with a long-term investigation of drug trafficking.
U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes announced Wednesday that law enforcement had served search warrants at eight places and searched more than a dozen vehicles in Tacoma, Seattle, Auburn, Fife, Renton, Bonney Lake, and Tumwater. Officers and agents seized more than a dozen weapons, 11 pounds of heroin and more than $40,000 in cash.
The defendants appeared at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.
Derrick Donnell Taylor-Nairn 32, of Seattle, whom authorities claim was at the center of the alleged drug-trafficking conspiracy, is the lead defendant. Because four other defendants, Jessica Plascencia Hernandez, 34, of Renton, Jose Margarito Maldonado, 38, of Bonney Lake, Lebret Marquis Richardson, 37, of Fife, and Andrew Leie Young, 34, of Seattle, allegedly supplied large quantities of methamphetamine, they face longer potential sentences because of the drug quantities involved.
Among the 15 remaining defendants are Auburn residents Ian Edward Distrito, 41, and De’Andre Aaron Jones, 39. Police arrested another defendant Wednesday and charged him by criminal complaint.
Hayes described it as an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The Tahoma Narcotics Enforcement Team, DEA Tacoma, and the Puyallup Police Department conducted the investigation, with significant help from the Bonney Lake, Auburn and Kent Police Departments. Agents from Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, deputies from the United States Marshal’s Service, and analysts from the Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and National Guard supported the investigation.
Assistant United States Attorneys Marci L. Ellsworth and C. Andrew Colasurdo are prosecuting the case.