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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Pasco man, alleged cartel organizer, gets 26-year federal prison sentence on drug charges

UPDATED: Wed., April 21, 2021

A 41-year-old Pasco man determined to be the head of a cartel running cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl out of the Tri-Cities received a 26-year prison sentence Tuesday.

Reynaldo P. Munoz pleaded guilty in August 2019 to four criminal counts, including conspiracy to distribute the drugs and multiple money laundering charges. At a sentencing hearing in a Richland courtroom Tuesday, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Edward F. Shea said Munoz was the leader of a cell of the Sinaloa cartel, a drug trafficking organization based in Mexico. Munoz disputed that finding.

FBI agents, on tips from undercover informants, executed search warrants at two homes in Pasco, including Munoz’s home, and discovered more than 19,000 pills laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that has seen increasing abuse in Eastern Washington. Also found were 40 pounds of heroin, 4 pounds of methamphetamine, 23 pounds of cocaine and $170,000 in cash, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Eastern Washington.

Braulio Jimenez, the owner of the other home searched and a co-conspirator in the drug trafficking ring, pleaded guilty to charges and received an 18-year sentence, the length of which he has appealed. Munoz also will appeal the length of his sentence, said Roger Peven, who defended Munoz in court.

Joseph Harring, acting U.S. attorney for Eastern Washington, praised the work of law enforcement in the case in a statement after the sentence was handed down.

“This investigation made a substantial mark upon a large-scale organization that had chosen Eastern Washington as a point of operation,” Harrington said. “It is these types of investigations that bring into focus the dangers drug trafficking organizations pose to our community.”

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