FOLLOWUP: Baby’s fentanyl death sparked investigation of alleged drug dealer, charging documents say

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has filed eight felony charges against the West Seattle man whose arrest followed warrant searches that found drugs, guns, and cash. 40-year-old David Vasquez is charged with six counts of drug violations plus one count of money laundering and one count of unlawful gun possession. The police narrative accompanying the charging documents is 11 pages long and tells a tale of a months-long investigation, prefaced by this case summary from prosecutors:

The impetus for investigating the defendant in this case arose from the overdose of a three-month-old baby. This overdose was the result of fentanyl, the product the defendant was knowingly selling under the guise of M30 oxycodone pills.

The police narrative explains that the baby died almost a year ago in Southeast Seattle, apparently ingesting the fentanyl through breast milk. Eight months later, the death was ruled a homicide.

The baby was not related to Vasquez. But when police searched the parents’ home, the charging documents say, they found drugs and paraphernalia. The investigation led police to their alleged drug dealer, who they addressed as “Benny” but who police say was Vasquez.

Once police identified “Benny” as Vasquez, the narrative says, an undercover invetigation began. It included multiple drug buys, by undercover officers, at multiple locations in and outside of West Seattle. Factoring into that part of the narrative is an incident covered here – police gunfire behind the Admiral Pub on October 24th. The narrative doesn’t go deeply into detail, aside from detailing an undercover buy at the pub that night, then saying “There was a disturbance at the rear of the bar not long after this narcotics transaction involving Vasquez and several others. He was observed staggering through the pub from the back door,” then leaving with another man through the front door, departing in that man’s pickup truck.

Subsequent buy locations detailed in the narrative included the Admiral Safeway parking lot, the Metropolitan Market parking lot, and the Ballroom Lounge in north Seattle. Police wrote that their surveillance also followed Vasquez to Life Storage in Luna Park and an apartment he had rented at The Whittaker in The Junction, though he also had a house near 41st/Hinds. The Whittaker is where police say they arrested him just before 3 pm last Friday. Meantime, police say the money-laundering investigation revealed that the suspect had started an LLC through which he processed tens of thousands of dollars and used some of it to pay his rent. As for the gun charge, police say he had a .45-caliber Glock semi-automatic handgun at the time of his arrest, illegal for him to possess because he has a felony conviction, attempted burglary, in 1997. Other convictions listed in charging documents are also from the ’90s, when he was a teenager, including two cases of taking a motor vehicle without permission.

Prosecutors asked that his original $100,000 bail, on which he posted bond and was released last weekend, be raised to $250,000, and that request was granted. Vasquez is due back in court February 10th for arraignment.

31 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Baby's fentanyl death sparked investigation of alleged drug dealer, charging documents say"

  • Airwolf January 30, 2020 (7:30 am)

    wow , that admiral pub incident ties into this. Was it SPD? kudos to them.  photo of the suspect?

  • Sillygoose January 30, 2020 (8:19 am)

    BRAVO Seattle Police Department!!!  BOOOO to the Whitaker leasing agents for not doing the appropriate back ground check to insure other tenants are safe and with in arms reach of danger!  Raise his bail to 1 million 250,000 is nothing for this guy!!! Clearly he has not learned from his adolescent years lock him up for life.  

    • WSB January 30, 2020 (9:10 am)

      I don’t know that they are required to check criminal backgrounds and even if they were, I don’t know that a juvenile conviction would come up. Even if it did – there’s this:

      • Just me January 30, 2020 (9:09 pm)

        WSB is exactly correct (no surprise 😁). Under legislation passed by the city council which went into effect 2 years ago, landlords and leasing agents are forbidden from running criminal background checks, and must even tell the prospective tenants that they are forbidden from doing so. Sex offender registery has different rules and allows the landlord a tiny bit more leeway.

  • KBear January 30, 2020 (9:09 am)

    Airwolf, don’t you think that if WSB had a photo of the suspect they’d publish it?

  • newnative January 30, 2020 (9:30 am)

    Interesting. The night of that shooting, there was a Megan who works at the Admiral Pub quoting her her co-worker that was there. She said that she didn’t notice anything and then implicated the Yen Wor. Then several other people that were in the Admiral Pub and/or personally knew the staff there strongly implicated the Yen Wor and denied seeing anything at Admiral Pub. Then people came on to bash the Yen Wor. Sounds like some serious spin to divert attention. 

  • Buttercup January 30, 2020 (9:36 am)

    Who’s taking bets that he will show up to court on Feb 10 now that the bail is increased and murder charges for infant.  I know where my money is.

  • anonyme January 30, 2020 (10:37 am)

    Was the mother charged with murder?  She should be.

    • WSB January 30, 2020 (11:02 am)

      Though that part of the story took place outside West Seattle, I did some searching and so far as I could find, no charges have been filed in connection with the baby’s death. However, the date listed for the ME ruling that it was homicide was only two months ago, and there is no statute of limitations, so that doesn’t mean there won’t be.

  • cjboffoli January 30, 2020 (10:54 am)

    Excellent reporting and research Tracy. I was also intrigued  to read of the connection to the Admiral Pub incident, specifically because I remember several witnesses who told me while I was reporting that night that a couple of people came bombing out of the front of the pub around the time of the shooting, got in a pickup truck and tore off. And for a brief time it seemed that the SPD was searching for a vehicle. But then patrons and employees of the pub were equally adamant that the incident was confined to the alley and that no one went through the pub.  It just seemed to be one of those things that at the time was unclear as to what had actually happened or if it was even related. Likewise, I’m certain that I remember the PIO telling me that the officer involved was in uniform and on routine patrol, which may have been obfuscation necessary to protect the undercover operation or maybe was just based on the information that Detective Michaud was able to gather at the time.  This all seems like a fine example of how a broader story of what really happens often develops over time – like a photographic print in a darkroom chemical bath.  Also brings to mind the challenge journalists have in making sense of a breaking news story amidst reader expectations of everything be made clear immediately with no inconsistencies.

  • Friend O'Dinghus January 30, 2020 (12:03 pm)

     The ripples of misery which expand outward from the actions of one individual is astounding. Wait, when I think about it, it’s not really at all. What IS astounding is how this is such a fine example of it in real life; plain to see. I am really glad this individual is behind bars! Now if we can do something about cheap, anonymous LLC’s, which enable the money laundering in the first place. From our neighborhood taverns, all the way to Davos, Switzerland, unchallenged money laundering is a scourge that must end. Without untraceable money, illegal activity (of every single type) becomes far more difficult to hide.

    • uncle loco January 30, 2020 (12:33 pm)

      Just an FYI, this guy isn’t behind bars. It says in the article that he posted bond on hundred grand (not sure but he probably had to come up with $10,000 cash). He was out in less than 2 days. What are the odds that he shows up for arraignment?

      • Friend O'Dinghus January 30, 2020 (1:44 pm)

        I would almost guarantee he will be present at his arraignment, or shortly thereafter. I do however accept your observation that he in fact, is not currently behind bars. Nicely pointed out, thank you.

        • Elle Nell January 30, 2020 (3:00 pm)

          So what do you propose O dingus- for folks with small private business. ?? Make sure EVEry thing is regulated ? Like all these investors and people putting/moving money into this and that..? Would love to hear your solution? 

          • Friend O'Dinghus January 30, 2020 (6:57 pm)

            With all due respect, it sure doesn’t seem like your interested in a good faith conversation with me at all. I’ll pass thank you, other than to say forming an LLC for $500.00 and allowing P.O. boxes, shell companies, and mail-only, office front only addresses sure sounds like an invitation for illegal activity all across the board.

  • Timeslid January 30, 2020 (12:37 pm)

    Is the a mugshot of Vasquez available? 

    • WSB January 30, 2020 (12:56 pm)

      No. Head shots are available:
      -If someone served time in state prison (in this case, though, his felony conviction is from ~25 years ago)
      -If they are a registered sex offender
      -If police are asking for the public’s help in tracking someoone down

  • justme January 30, 2020 (2:03 pm)

    He’s just one small runner for the Cartel. This doesn’t even scratch the surface, but thankful anyway.

    • Jeannie February 1, 2020 (8:36 am)

      You know this for a fact?

  • westseattleite January 30, 2020 (3:42 pm)

    according to the king county inmate look up, he is already released and out on bail.. incredibly shameful 

    • WSB January 30, 2020 (4:47 pm)

      As reported above.

    • Jeannie February 1, 2020 (8:38 am)

      What part of posting bail is shameful? If you were accused of a crime and arrested would you not find a way to bail out? You would sit in jail in fear of being shameful? LMFAO so easy to judge others but If the shoe was on the other foot I bet it would be 100% different

  • Michael January 30, 2020 (6:42 pm)

    I’m a bit confused here, who is being charged with murder?  Was it the mother or the person who sold the drugs?  You reference charging documents, can we see them?

    • WSB January 30, 2020 (7:29 pm)

      No one is charged with murder. The charging documents and police narrative make a point of saying the baby’s death was what led to the police investigation that resulted in the eight charges against the defendant as reported above, but this defendant is not charged in connectio with it, and as far as I can tell, no one is. We meantime do not publish charging papers in most cases as there are usually references to names, addresses, phone #’s that would have to be redacted – in this case, dozens and dozens – and I have neither the time nor the capability to do that. You can get the documents through ECR Online or the courthouse

      • Michael January 30, 2020 (8:02 pm)

        Thank you for the clarification.  I was confused by this paragraph:The police narrative explains that the baby died almost a year ago in Southeast Seattle, apparently ingesting the fentanyl through breast milk. Eight months later, the death was ruled a homicide.Maybe I misunderstand what “homicide” is, I was confused because I don’t know what party was responsible but maybe it just describes the circumstances of the death?  Not necessarily that anyone was charged.  Is that right?

        • WSB January 30, 2020 (8:07 pm)

          The missing words, sorry, would have been that the Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide – but doesn’t have the power to file charges; that’s up to prosecutors, and it’s their decision once a case has been referred to them by police. “Homicide” and “murder” are not exactly the same thing, though they are often used interchangeably. Here’s the official definition of “homicide” in WA law:

  • MmmScar January 31, 2020 (12:23 pm)

    Is there any pictures or names available for the parents of the child . Or have any information on what they are facing .!!

    • WSB January 31, 2020 (1:19 pm)

      As noted upthread, as far as I can tell, there has not been, so far, arrests or charges. Doesn’t mean there won’t eventually be.

  • Jeannie February 1, 2020 (8:32 am)

    Wow.  So here everyone has tried and convicted David without even having a chance to defend himself. I got a question tho is it not the mothers responsibility to not use drugs while not only pregnant but after while breast feeding? Should we not be hearing about how the mother and father have gotten zero charges for murdering thier own child? How is it they have custody of other children right now and are not in jail for homicide? Of an infant?  Instead here you are assuming David is guilty of these crimes including one that lies on the parents of that child. Why are you even considering David’s child hood mishaps with the law in determining his guilt of these current crimes? Those were OVER 20 years ago! And he has zero adult criminal history.  They mention the LLC business yet has anyone asked what that business did instead of assuming its some illicit sneaky way to launder money? Really.  In the us I was under the impression we were innocent until PROVEN guilty. Proven in a court of law not some blog online. Really you know at any time any one of you could be arrested for a crime you may or may not have committed how would you feel to have it blasted on line in a way that leaves no room for innocence? Seriously what the heck is wrong with all of you 

  • momosmom February 1, 2020 (10:14 am)

    What would a picture do or prove? What if the person looked like Charles Manson…GUILTY! But if the person looked like oh let’s say Brad Pitt you’d then say “oh there must be a misunderstanding here”. and it turns out to be the “Brad Pitt looking person” 

  • Carrie February 16, 2020 (1:45 pm)

    What ever came of this case?  Scary stuff

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