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    Agents arrest 26 in bust of Skagit County drug ring

    Agents arrest 26 in bust of Skagit County drug ring

    The Associated Press

    Law enforcement officers arrested 26 people today following a two-year investigation into a drug ring that brought cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine into Skagit County from Mexico.

    Combined with the dismantling of another operation last year, the bust made a significant dent in the amount of illicit drugs available in the rural county in northwestern Washington, officials said.

    "The battle against drug trafficking is not confined to urban centers," U.S. Attorney John McKay said in a news release. "We are successfully targeting federal resources to enhance local efforts to stop the flow of drugs into rural parts of Western Washington."

    Twenty-two of those arrested today were charged federally; four were arrested for investigation of state crimes. Another 18 facing indictment remain at large. Some would receive mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years in prison if convicted.

    Prosecutors allege that the group, based in Sinaloa, Mexico, used hidden compartments to drive the drugs north from Mexico and to return cash south. Some of those charged sold drugs and guns to undercover officers, they said.

    During Friday's searches and arrests, agents seized $20,000, three weapons, 8 pounds of methamphetamine, 3 pounds of cocaine, 3 pounds of heroin and several vehicles, the U.S. attorney's office said.

    Last year, prosecutors went after the Garcia-Villalba drug ring, which also operated in Skagit County. Thirty-six of the thirty-nine defendants were convicted, with the ring's leaders serving 10-year sentences.

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    Sweet, 26 with another 18 in the wings. Good job!
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