Some of the local meth/heroin/cocaine suppliers nabbed in a series of raids last month by federal law enforcement groups had direct ties to Mexico's notorious Beltrán-Leyva Cartel, according to recently-unsealed court documents.
When one of the mid-level pushers was arrested, he allegedly confessed to DEA agents he came to Seattle as a 16-year-old when, "They brought me here and showed me how to sell drugs." Court documents don't specify who "They" are, and spokespeople for the DEA and U.S. Attorney's Office declined to elaborate. But reading between the lines, it was obvious the dealer was employed by one of Mexico's omnipotent drug cartels. Now, after another batch of court documents became public last week, we finally know which one.
A criminal complaint against Noe Magelleon-Miranda -- a mid-level meth and heroin dealer based in Pacific, a small town just south of Auburn -- says he was affiliated with a group that "trafficked narcotics and firearms for high ranking members of the Beltrán-Leyva cartel, based out of the Gabriel Leyva Solano/Los Mochis area of Sinaloa, Mexico."
Magelleon-Miranda, known by his nickname "Cascaras," was a minor cog in the vast narco machine. He reported to the relative of a local capo named Victor Berrelleza-Leal, aka "Don Victor," who would allegedly use cars with hidden compartments to smuggle multiple kilos of meth and heroin up from California. The heroin was cut with "a sugar mixture" before it was sold, increasing its value so those hidden compartments could be stuffed with cash -- up to $400,000 per shipment -- and sent back south. The money was allegedly laundered into accounts that once belonged to "The Boss of Bosses."
Arturo "El Jefe de Jefes" Beltrán-Leyva was formerly the leader of the organization allied with the powerful Sinaloa Cartel. After a series of betrayals -- Arturo was killed in a shootout with Mexican marines, and his brother Alfredo wound up in Mexican prison -- the cartel is said to have lost some of its clout. It is now led by yet another Beltrán-Leyva brother, Hector, who, according to the stellar drug war reporters at Borderland Beat, also created a splinter faction "best known for having employed a 12-year-old gunman and executioner."
Fortunes for the Beltrán-Leyvas certainly did not improve with the wave of Seattle arrests, which presumably crippled their local distribution network. At least 30 men, including "Don Victor," are now under federal indictment for money laundering, and conspiracy to distribute meth and heroin. Sadly, another organization will inevitably step up to supply the insatiable local demand. As the bust here shows, the degrees of separation between Seattle and Sinaloa are unnervingly few.