BELLINGHAM, Wash. — 2 men were arrested in Bellingham and a third in North Carolina in connection with distribution of more than 75,000 fentanyl pills, according to an announcement today, October 21st, from the US Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Washington.
Guillermo Vieyra-Salas, 22, and Jaime Alonso Hernandez-Hernandez, 41, appeared in US District Court in Seattle yesterday. A third defendant, identified as Manuel Lugo, was arrested in Wilmington, North Carolina and will appear in US District Court there on Monday October 24th.
“In this case, the defendants were allegedly able to order up thousands of pills worth more than $100,000,” according to US Attorney Nick Brown.
According to records filed in the case, in August 2022, agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) learned of a drug trafficking network that was bringing fentanyl pills to Western Washington from Mexico. In August 2022, agents, acting in an undercover capacity, purchased an initial batch of 2,000 fentanyl pills. In September, the agents put in a request for 75,000 pills for $112,000. The deal was set for September 28,2022, near the Bellingham airport. While one co-conspirator was delivering the drugs to one location, two other men met with undercover agents at a coffee shop where the undercover agents briefly showed the two men what appeared to be $112,000 in cash.
All three men were charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. Because of the quantity of drugs involved, the men face a mandatory minimum of 10 years, and up to life, in prison.
The case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with the assistance of Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Vieyra-Salas was out of custody after posting a $200,000 bond in Whatcom County Superior Court where he has been charged with drive-by shooting, illegal possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a stolen firearm after an incident in Bellingham on August 15, 2021.