A Spanaway man investigated by a number of police agencies, including nearby Bonney Lake, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute heroin, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported Monday.
Jose Manuel Campos Pineda, 34, was indicted as part of Project Deliverance, an investigation led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The crime ring delivered large amounts of heroin and methamphetamine from the Mexican cartels to street-level customers, according to the U.S. State Department.
Pineda was found to be the leader of the ring and the one arranging for the drugs to come to the Pacific Northwest, U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman said.
The DEA and Bonney Lake police, along with other agencies, were involved in the investigation that began 13 months ago. Pineda and the other defendants were arrested more than a year ago, records say.
The organized crime was happening within a six-square mile area of South Tacoma. Drug customers from Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, Lewis and Grays Harbor counties would call and order drugs. A dispatcher coordinated the movement. The drug runner’s car would drive slowly pass the customer car signaling it to follow, the cars would proceed into a residential neighborhood, alert to any surveillance, and make
the drug transaction. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were shipped to Mexico in hidden compartments built into vehicles.
Through the course of the investigation, authorities seized more than 80 pounds of heroin, $400,000 in cash, four firearms and more than four pounds of metham-phetamine.
Pineda is one of 26 people to be sentenced in the wire-tap investigation. Pineda is a Mexican national who will be deported once his prison term is up.
In asking for the lengthy prison term, prosecutors noted that Pineda trafficked black tar heroin – one of the drugs that has fueled cartel violence. According to the U.S.
State Department, there have been 22,700 narcotics-related murders in Mexico
since 2006, as cartels battle to decide who will control the supply of drugs into the United States.