Alleged co-conspirator in meth smuggling plot pleads guilty to drug possession

PORT ANGELES — An alleged co-conspirator in a plot to smuggle methamphetamine into the Clallam Bay Corrections Center has pleaded guilty to drug possession.

Jose L. Orozco, 39, of Rochester pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of possession of a controlled substance in connection with a September ruse to pay a corrections officer to conceal 60.9 grams of methamphetamine inside two burritos.

He was originally charged Sept. 17 with delivery of a controlled substance. Orozco will be sentenced on the drug possession charge Nov. 27.

Orozco is being held in the Clallam County jail on $75,000 bail.

Last week, Arturo A. Ramirez was sentenced to six years in prison for delivering methamphetamine to the Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team (OPNET), in a Sept. 12 sting operation on Ediz Hook.

Orozco accompanied Ramirez to the OPNET-arranged sale, according to the affidavit for probable cause.

Ramirez, 26, of Tacoma pleaded guilty to one count of delivery of a controlled substance.

OPNET Detective Rick Larsen said Orozco and Ramirez traveled to Port Angeles to deliver the methamphetamine to a corrections officer who agreed to wear a recording device when he and Ramirez arranged the sale.

The officer reported to his supervisor that he was solicited by an inmate with gang ties Sept. 5.

Ramirez was arrested when he placed the methamphetamine-stuffed burritos inside an undercover OPNET vehicle.

Orozco fled to the rocks on the north side of Ediz Hook when Ramirez was surrounded by law enforcement, according to the probable cause statement.

“[Orozco] ran over the rocks and tried to hide,” Larsen wrote in the affidavit.

“He was observed by me throwing items in between the rocks on the beach. He was taken into custody without incident.”

The methamphetamine in the burritos had a street value of $4,872 and a prison value of $24,360, OPNET Sgt. Tom Kuch has said.

Orozco will be evaluated for a Drug Offender Sentencing Act, or DOSA, sentence prior to his next court hearing. The state will not recommend a residential DOSA sentence, court papers said.

Orozco’s sentencing range hinges on an offender score that had not been determined Tuesday. A comparability analysis of Orozco’s convictions in California will determine his offender score in Washington, court papers said.


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected]

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