Federal and local law enforcement have arrested four people, breaking up what officials are calling one of the primary illicit drug suppliers of heroin and methamphetamine on the Olympic Peninsula.
During a series of search warrants last week, officials arrested Nicolas Orozco-Cruz of Forks, 34, Elizabeth McKean of Forks, 37, and Jessica Christman of Sequim, 39, the Peninsula Daily News reported on May 25, according to the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office.
The arrest of John Killins of Sequim, 39, was confirmed Friday.
The arrests follow a year-long Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Investigation Team and Drug Enforcement Administration probe into Orozco-Cruz’s drug trafficking organization, which officials believed was the primary supplier of Mexican-produced heroin and meth on the Olympic Peninsula, according to court records.
Officers filed a federal complaint against Orozco-Cruz and Christman, charging them with four federal counts of distribution of heroin. They each appeared in U.S. District Court on May 24.
Another complaint was filed against McKean charging her with two counts of distribution of meth. She was scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Tacoma last week.
Records of their court appearances and records related to any charges against Killins were not available over the weekend. The complaint charging Orozco-Cruz and Christman as defendants also mentions McKean and Killins.
During the investigation, members of the drug trafficking organization have been “hypersensitive” to police presence, but investigators gained information from several people who admitted to purchasing drugs from them, court records say.
Records say McKean focused on distributing drugs to the western-most parts of the North Olympic Peninsula in areas such as Neah Bay, Sekiu and Forks while Orozco-Cruz focused on the eastern side in such areas as Port Angeles and Sequim.
Investigators performed surveillance at several areas where they suspected drug deals were happening, including at the residences of Daniel Percival just prior to his arrest last year.
In November, Percival was sentenced in U.S. District Court to more than six years in federal prison after admitting to trafficking large amounts of heroin and meth into Clallam County.
While law enforcement surveilled Percival during the months-long investigation that led to his arrest in March 2017, law enforcement saw that Orozco-Cruz was present for multiple short-stay stops where Percival was living.
On May 23 OPNET, DEA and Homeland Security Investigation officials arrested Orozco-Cruz as he exited a suspected “stash house” at the Welcome Inn RV Park in Port Angeles.
Simultaneous search warrants were executed at the residence in the Welcome Inn RV Park and at Orozco-Cruz’s residence in Forks.
A surveillance team in Sequim arrested Christman and Killins just prior to Orozco-Cruz’s arrest near the Ross department store in Sequim.
Thursday morning a Clallam County Sheriff’s deputy and a State Patrol trooper arrested McKean after she returned to her home in Forks, where she lives with Orozco-Cruz, according to authorities.
Following the search warrants, investigators discovered and seized about $20,000 and three vehicles.
Jodie Underwood, DEA spokesperson, said Thursday that officers had seized small quantities of heroin, meth, one weapon and currency.
Investigators have started drug asset forfeiture proceedings on the currency and vehicles “furthering efforts to permanently dismantle Cruz’s drug trafficking organization,” according to a press release.
Jesse Major is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at email@example.com.