Five arrested in marijuana smuggling case
Five western Washington men are facing federal drug charges after being apprehended by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents earlier this week in connection with an on-going marijuana smuggling investigation through the Blaine ports of entry. The arrests occurred last week in northeast Seattle.
The arrests are the result of a joint investigation involving ICE, the Bellingham police department, the Whatcom County Sheriff�s Department, and the U.S. Attorney�s Office. Two vehicles and $254,000 in currency were seized when the suspects were apprehended. Federal search warrants were later executed in three Whatcom County locations leading to additional seizures of vehicles, marijuana and weapons.
�These arrests are the direct result of the team effort between all the law enforcement agencies involved,� said Leigh Winchell, Seattle ICE Special Agent-In-Charge. �Marijuana smuggling from British Columbia continues to be a major ICE enforcement priority.�
The defendants made their initial appearance in federal court in Seattle on Tuesday. The five men, charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, are: Geoffrey Newman, 35, Sedro Woolley, WA; Marc Oreiro, 26, Rollingbay, WA; James Ditchman, 32, Olympia, WA; Barry Davis, 23, Olympia, WA; and Justin Wells, 26, Rochester, WA.