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  1. #1
    Senior Member ShockedinCalifornia's Avatar
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    Nov 2006

    $900K Found in Drug Suspects' Cars

    Published: Thursday, April 12, 2007

    $900,000 discovered in drug suspects' cars

    By Diana Hefley
    Herald Writer

    Detectives searching cars owned by suspected drug smugglers this week discovered nearly $900,000 tucked inside secret compartments.

    The spaces were hidden beneath car seats and in door panels and were opened by pressing secret buttons, according to court records filed Wednesday by Special U.S. Attorney Adam Cornell.

    More money may be squirreled away in six other vehicles detectives seized from six men arrested in connection with an alleged drug trafficking ring that is believed to stretch between Snohomish County and Mexico, Cornell said in court papers.

    So far this week, detectives have found $1.2 million in cash, 33 pounds of cocaine and 23 pounds of heroin. The seizures were made as part of a nine-month investigation, dubbed "Los Intocables" or "The Untouchables."

    The investigation is shared by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force.

    Narcotics detectives started investigating the ring last summer after receiving a tip that a man nicknamed "Cookie," later identified as Javier Sanchez-Vasquez, 27, of Bothell, allegedly was supplying large quantities of heroin to an Everett dealer.

    Investigators followed the men and tapped the leader's cell phone.

    The wiretap operation required the assistance of a special translator once investigators determined that the men were speaking Mixteco Bajo, a rare, indigenous dialect spoken in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico.

    Along the way, detectives allegedly recorded multiple drug deals in Everett, Marysville, Arlington and Snohomish, according records filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

    Investigators on Monday raided houses in Marysville and Kirkland and a storage unit in Arlington. They also seized nine vehicles linked to the suspects.

    Investigators believe the men were smuggling cocaine and heroin from Mexico and distributing the drugs in Washington as well as to other parts of the country, DEA spokesman Steve Hooten said.

    "It was a substantial operation here," he said.

    It is likely the men were using vehicles equipped with hidden compartments like the ones discovered Tuesday to bring the drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border.

    One of the compartments would not open unless a hidden button and the vehicle's brake were depressed at the same time, investigators said.

    They said the smuggling compartments, while impressive, were "more Austin Powers than James Bond."

    Investigators searched three of the vehicles on Tuesday. Secret compartments were found inside the front seats of a Ford Explorer.

    Cash wrapped in cellophane and bundled in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 were found in the Explorer. Bundles of cash also were found in a compartment behind the rear passenger-seat door panel of a Honda Accord, Cornell wrote in court documents.

    Investigators also searched an Audi and found a secret compartment but no money.

    Detectives expect to use an X-ray machine to examine the remaining vehicles, Cornell wrote. The machine typically is used by customs and border officials to examine cargo containers.

    The indicted include Javier Sanchez-Vasquez, 27, and Jose Vasquez-Contreras, 20, both of Bothell; Gabriel Ramirez Castro, 30, of Des Moines; Macrino Acevedo-Cuevas, 26, of Shoreline; and Rodolfo Navarro-Gomez, 27, of Sumner. Dion Brady Lykins of Bothell was charged by complaint.

    Investigators believe Sanchez-Vasquez, was the leader. He was recently enrolled at the University of Washington's Bothell campus.

    Some of the men face up to 40 years in federal prison if they are convicted.

    Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or hefley@ ... ars001.cfm

  2. #2
    Senior Member pjr40's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Redlands, California
    They're only doing jobs Americans won't do
    <div>Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of congress; but I repeat myself. Mark Twain</div>

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