Illegal alien sentenced in connection with dealiing cocaine across Eastern Washington

Roger Harnack

An illegal alien was sentenced to 19 years in prison Thursday, Feb. 21, for dealing cocaine in Washington state.
The prison term stems from a guilty plea by Marcos Ramirez-Mercado, 46, of Yakima, who admitted to conspiracy to distribute 5 kg or more of cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a conspiracy, court records show.
Senior U.S. District Court Judge William Fremming Nielsen also sentenced Ramirez-Mercado to 10 years of probation, records show, noting that he will likely be deported to Mexico when he is released from prison.
Court records show Ramirez-Mercado was the leader and organizer of a years-long, wide-ranging drug conspiracy in which whole kilograms of powder cocaine were hidden in boxes of drywall compound and trafficked from Yakima into Spokane.
When law enforcement officers arrested Ramirez-Mercado in his car in June 2017, they found three drywall boxes, each of which contained a kilogram of cocaine, records show. Officers also located four boxes of .223 ammunition, and almost $2,000 in cash.
During a search of his Yakima home, officers located a secret room in the basement and recovered an additional $550,000 in cash, eight firearms and ammunition, a kilogram of cocaine and digital scales, records show.
Prior to Ramirez-Mercado’s arrest, the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained a number of lawful wiretaps during the course of the investigation, which began in 2014, and resulted in indictments being brought against Ramirez-Mercado and 21 other defendants, records show.
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.
Nielsen noted that the amount of cocaine for which Ramirez-Mercado was actually responsible will never truly be known, but it was certainly far much more than the 3 kg recovered from his car.
At Ramirez-Mercado’s sentencing hearing, several of his family members addressed the court, describing him as a good man who made a mistake.
Judge Nielsen, however, concluded that his years of trafficking large quantities of narcotics were much more than a mistake, and that his conduct was consistent with the lifestyle of a drug dealer.
Ramirez- Mercado caused his customers to become addicted to cocaine and then held them captive to their addiction so he could continue to make a profit, the judge said.
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington Joseph H. Harrington said:
“The sentence imposed today reflects the seriousness of Ramirez- Mercado’s grave criminal conduct.”
Special Agent-in-Charge Raymond P. Duda of the FBI’s Seattle Field Office agreed. The agency was among the agencies involved in the investigation.
“The lengthy sentence for Ramirez-Mercado, the leader of this drug trafficking conspiracy, demonstrates the serious consequences for individuals who compromise the safety and wellbeing of communities in Eastern Washington by engaging in illegal drug activity,” he said. “Those who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of our communities should expect similar consequences. The FBI is particularly thankful for our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, who were integral in this investigation.”