Homeland Security Investigations special agents equipped with night vision goggles spotted the men leaving a black Dodge Stratus and heading into a wooded area with trails that lead to British Columbia. Oscar Valenzuela was caught a few minutes later, but the duffel bag was nowhere to be found. A search of the woods nearby turned up a smaller bag containing a semi-auto, Mac-10-style machine gun. The feds also found a 9 mm pistol hidden under a pile of leaves, "with a round in the chamber and the hammer cocked ready to be fired."
With the help of a drug-sniffing dog, the agents tracked down the duffel bags about 200 yards away. Inside were 20 vacuum-sealed, foil-wrapped bricks of cocaine that weighed out to 23.1 kilograms total. About five minutes later, according to court documents, Felipe Valenzuela was seen "wearing camouflage clothing and running northbound." He was caught after a short foot chase, and both men were taken in for questioning.
The duo initially denied knowing each other, but, according to the court documents, they exchanged text messages that evening, and Oscar had pictures of Felipe on his phone. Oscar was also carrying his birth certificate, which matched-up with biographical details Felipe provided as he was being interrogated in a separate room. Both men were born in the Los Mochis area of Sinaloa.
In late March, federal drug cops rounded up more than 40 people from across King, Pierce, Skagit, and Snohomish Counties accused of trafficking "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."
It's unclear whether the Valenzuela brothers were fish in the Beltrán-Leyva food chain, but either way their arrest proves that, even after major busts, the narcos will find some new minnows willing to haul their product across the border.