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Agents seize weapons, cash in drug raids

SEATTLE – Federal agents busted a drug-trafficking ring that distributed methamphetamine and cocaine from Mexico in Washington state and carried powerful weaponry.

A .50-caliber Desert Eagle pistol, AK-47-type semiautomatic assault rifle and 14 other weapons were among 23 guns seized in the past two weeks, along with 19 pounds of methamphetamine, a quarter-pound of cocaine, 22 vehicles and $60,000 in cash. Thirty-one people were arrested.

Arnold R. Moorin, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Seattle office, said the ring was directed by a cartel in Jalisco, Mexico, and could move 50 pounds of crystal meth and “multiple kilograms of cocaine” a month.

Rampant violence among rival drug cartels in Mexico “has spilled over … somewhat to the (U.S.) communities on the border,” said U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Sullivan. “Our concern is that, with these kinds of weapons and with traffickers beginning to carry weapons on a more regular basis, we unfortunately could see the same kinds of things here.”

Raids were conducted in Tacoma, Olympia and nearby communities; Vancouver, Wash.; several Seattle suburbs; and Oakdale, Calif., where a “superlab” capable of producing 10 pounds of meth at a time was found in a home.