13 Arrested in major gang-related drug raid

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By EMRY DINMAN

Staff Writer

MOSES LAKE - Thirteen Grant County residents with alleged ties to the Eastside Familia Norteno street gang were arrested Tuesday morning in an extensive, regional drug raid, including two men accused of being the leaders of the drug trafficking conspiracy, according to a press release from the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Luis Manuel Farias-Carendas, 40, of Moses Lake, and Joshua Isaac Stine, 34, of Ephrata, are accused of leading a drug trafficking conspiracy and were arrested Tuesday. Eleven other suspects were also arrested, and are facing an initial appearance in federal court in Spokane, including:

Patrick Elliot Pearson, 47, of Moses Lake

Cristian Misael Gomez, 23, of Grant County

Luis Manuel Ramirez, 25, of Moses Lake

Zacarias Martinez-Garza, 23 of Moses Lake

Mariano Ruiz-Balderas, 19, of Moses Lake

Jesse Leon Manion Jr., 55, of Moses Lake

Heather Elaine Keating, 41, of Moses Lake

Leonel Caballero, 62, of Warden

Forrest Walker Herzog, 34, of Moses Lake

Amy Jo Dygert, 33, of Moses Lake

Michael Edward McLaughlin, 59, of Ephrata

Over 300 law enforcement officials, including federal agents and state and local officers executed 19 federal search warrants located in Grant, Yakima and Adams Counties, according to a press release.

On July 10, 2019, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Washington returned an indictment charging 16 individuals for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin. Two others were also arrested during the enforcement action: Jesus Valenica-Morfin, 31, of Yakima, and Tomas Gomez, 49, of Los Angeles, was also arrested during the operation and charged by federal complaint.

The 15 individuals were arrested in the following cities: 11 in Moses Lake, one in Ephrata, two in Yakima, and one in Warden. Agents and officers have seized pound quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin, over 50 firearms and U.S. currency, according to the press release.

This investigation is a continuation of law enforcement efforts in December 2017, which focused on violent drug traffickers who were operating in Grant County. The earlier investigation resulted in 24 individuals who have pled guilty in federal court and eight pounds of methamphetamine, Ten vehicles, $25,000 and more than 80 firearms were seized, according to a press release.

The following agencies provided significant assistance for today’s enforcement action: ATF, DEA, USBP, United States Marshals Service, Homeland Security Investigations, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Grant County Sheriff’s Office, Moses Lake Police Department, Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team, Washington State Patrol, Idaho State Police, Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Law Enforcement Against Drugs, Yakima Police Department, Columbia River Drug Task Force, North Central Washington Narcotics Task Force, Warden Police Department, Ephrata Police Department and Quincy Police Department.

The case is being prosecuted by Caitlin Baunsgard, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

Emry Dinman can be reached at edinman@columbiabasinherald.com

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