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Leader Of West Coast Trafficking Ring Gets 27-Year Sentence

A trial exhibit that shows the geographic scope of the Berrelleza-Verduzco trafficking ring.
A trial exhibit that shows the geographic scope of the Berrelleza-Verduzco trafficking ring.

One the ringleaders of a sprawling West Coast drug and gun trafficking ring has been sentenced to 27 years in federal prison.

A trial exhibit that shows the geographic scope of the Berrelleza-Verduzco trafficking ring.
Credit Court Exhibit: US v. Anchondo
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A trial exhibit that shows the geographic scope of the Berrelleza-Verduzco trafficking ring.

U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said Friday this cartel-linked group took in “massive profits from the scourge of heroin addiction.”

The case involved three brothers from Mexico who ran a smuggling ring that federal authorities say had ties to a cartel on Mexico’s Pacific coast. Heroin and meth from Mexico were smuggled north to the Seattle area. The cash proceeds and guns flowed back south.

Federal wiretaps helped make the case.

Federal agents pounced in March of 2012. Ultimately, 34 people were charged including the three brothers. One of the brothers was sentenced to seven years in federal prison. Another got 20 years. Now the third brother, Cristian Berrelleza-Verduzco, has been sentenced to 27 years.

The father of the brothers remains a fugitive in Mexico.

We first reported on the case last year in our series called “Border-To-Border.”

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."