We took that photo this morning in the 10200 block of Myers Way – just south of the city limits – after a texted tip (206-293-6302 any time) from someone who reported seeing a major presence of Washington State Patrol and FBI agents there. When we asked the FBI about it, they told us information would be forthcoming shortly on a multi-agency, multi-location operation – and here it is:
Federal, state and local law enforcement partners made 18 arrests and searched more than a dozen locations in connection with a two-year investigation into a violent drug trafficking organization, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. The organization distributed cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine across a wide swath of the greater Seattle metro area. The defendants (were) scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Seattle at 2:00 today.
“These defendants preyed on our community by supplying drugs in neighborhoods across Seattle, and demonstrated a willingness to use violence where it served their purposes,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “Their criminal activities included hiding weapons and using violence in homeless encampments located along Interstate-5.”
According to the indictment and court records, beginning in February 2013 law enforcement authorities used a variety of tools including telephone wire taps and confidential sources to infiltrate and interdict this drug organization. The investigation determined that the organization distributed approximately 15-20 kilos of cocaine, 10-15 kilos of heroin and 5 kilos of methamphetamine per month.
In addition, on multiple occasions members of the drug trafficking organization were arrested with firearms. In one instance a conspirator was arrested with a stolen firearm as he was leaving the ‘Jungle’ homeless encampment. During the investigation law enforcement seized drugs and cash including a September 2014 seizure of two kilograms of cocaine, one pound of methamphetamine and $14,000 cash from a rental car. In March 2015, investigators seized more than $32,000 from a hidden compartment in another vehicle.
Drug activity associated with the organization occurred over a wide geographic area with drug sales occurring at homes and near businesses in Seattle, Renton, Shoreline, and Kent. The drug transactions occurred in areas ranging from the parking lot of Viet Wah supermarket near South Jackson Street, the parking lot of Dick’s Drive-In on NE 45th Street, the parking lot of a gas station on Beacon Hill, and at a motel in Tukwila.
“Law enforcement partnerships made today’s operation a success,” said Special Agent in Charge Frank Montoya, Jr., of the FBI’s Seattle division. “Working together in task forces, we tracked these defendants on both sides of Lake Washington, up and down Interstate 5, and even to other states. Our joint resources enabled us to identify key elements of the organization and effectively shut it down.”
“This operation was the result of close cooperation and collaboration between several Federal, State, and Local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, including investigators from the Eastside Narcotics Task Force and the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force,” said Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett. “I am very proud of the hard work of these dedicated law enforcement professionals. As a result of this large scale operation, a well-organized drug trafficking operation has effectively been dismantled, and the entire Puget Sound region is safer.”
Those arrested on the indictment today include:
Son V. Tran, 28, of Seattle, Washington
Cuong T. Le, 57, of Federal Way, Washington
Niem H. Doan, aka “Linh,” 36, of Everett, Washington
Huy V. Tran, 39, of Seattle, Washington
Patrick Wong, aka “Minh” 48, of Seattle, Washington
Son T. Nguyen, aka “Nine Fingers” aka “Kim,” 42, of Seattle, Washington
Tam C. Nguyen, aka “Andy,” 39, of Tukwila, Washington
Brieanna K. Carlson, 27, of Seattle, Washington
Yen T. Vu, 54, of Seattle, Washington
Phuong A. Nguyen, aka “P,” 42, of Kent, Washington
Vinh Q. Nguyen, 29, of Seattle, Washington
Giang T. Ngo, aka “Uncle Jack,” 51, of Burien, Washington
Phuong H. Nguyen, aka “LJ,” 30, of Kent, Washington
Kenneth W. Thomas, 55, of SeaTac, Washington
Donald K. Jordan, aka “Looney,” 34, of Seattle, Washington
Donald C. Scholoff, 47, of Edmonds, Washington
Steven J. Connell, 47, of Seattle, Washington
Kimberle S. Alojasin, aka “Nguyen,” 56, of South King County, Washington
This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. This investigation was led by the FBI’s Seattle Safe Streets Task Force (SSTF) and Bellevue Police Department’s Eastside Narcotics Task Force (ENTF). The SSTF includes task force officers from the Seattle Police Department, and the ENTF is composed of Bellevue Police Department officers, and agents and officers from the Washington State Patrol, US Postal Inspection Service, and the Redmond, Kirkland, and Mercer Island police departments in partnership with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Additional assistance was provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), King County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington State Department of Corrections, and the Kent and Tukwila police departments, and the Seattle Fire Department.
We don’t know yet if any of the indicted suspects identified above had ties to the Myers Way location (or any other local ties), the closest one on a list of 16 sites that’s visible in Federal court files online in connection with the case, but we’ll be checking court documents and will add anything more we find.
ADDED 4:18 PM: According to other documents just made public, the Myers Way location is the home of one of the indicted suspects mentioned above, Steven Connell.