Undocumented man sentenced to prison for organized cocaine trafficking in Eastern Washington
A man was sentenced in Spokane on Thursday to 19 years in federal prison for leading and organizing a years-long drug conspiracy.
Marcos Ramirez-Mercado, 46, living in Yakima, Washington and Michoacan, Mexico, also was living illegally in the country. He was arrested as he was attempting to deliver cocaine stashed in drywall boxes to Spokane, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday.
When Ramirez-Mercado was arrested in June 2017, he was in possession of 3 kilograms of cocaine, rifle ammunition and about $2,000 in cash. Upon searching his house in Yakima, police found $550,000 in cash, eight guns, a kilogram of cocaine and digital scales, the news release said.
Ramirez-Mercado pleaded guilty on Sept. 6, 2018.
After his prison term, he will “likely be removed from the United States,” the news release stated, and will also have 10 years of probation.
The FBI investigated Ramirez-Mercado and others in his organization with wiretaps beginning in 2014, and charged 21 others with charges relating to the drug conspiracy.
“The wiretaps revealed that Ramirez-Mercado’s organization was trafficking huge amounts of cocaine into and across Eastern Washington, in quantities as high as a kilogram every few weeks, for years,” the news release stated.
The June 2017 arrest of Ramirez-Mercado involved the FBI raiding 15 homes across the region. As part of the bust, Evergreen Middle School in Spokane Valley was in lock down while officers searched the surrounding area.