OPNET says meth stopped on way to prison

PORT ANGELES — An alleged gang-related plan to smuggle drugs into Clallam Bay Corrections Center was foiled when authorities, spearheading a sting operation on Ediz Hook, said they found more than 2 ounces of methamphetamine inside two burritos.

Jose Orozco, 29, of Rochester, a former prison inmate, and Arturo A. Ramirez, 26, released from the prison in August, had bail set at $75,000 and $85,000, respectively, Thursday in Clallam County Superior Court pending the expected filing of formal charges at 1 p.m. Monday for delivery of a controlled substance.

Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team (OPNET) members with assistance from Port Angeles, Sequim, Clallam County, Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested Orozco and Ramirez at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sgt. Tom Kuch of OPNET.

Kuch said Ramirez and Orozco tried to deliver the methamphetamine to an informant after Ramirez and Orozco were contacted by prison inmates affiliated with the street gangs MS13 and the BGDs, also known as the Black Gangster Disciples.

During the fake drug buy, one of the men placed a bag inside a vehicle that OPNET uses for its investigations that was parked at the Hook, according to court records.

When officers converged on the man, he was arrested. The other man ran away and was quickly arrested, according to the probable cause statement.

Sequim Police Office Rick Larsen, an OPNET member, found two soft-taco burritos in the vehicle.

Inside one burrito were three separate large blue packages that are commonly used to smuggle items into correctional facilities, Larsen said.

They were packaged with a blue latex glove that makes it easier to conceal inside the rectum, Larsen said.

Two other packages were inside the other burrito.

The five packages contained 61 grams of methamphetamine with a street value of $4,872 and a prison value of $24,360, Kuch said.

According to the probable cause statement, a Clallam Bay prison employee said an inmate offered to pay him $7,000 to smuggle an ounce of methamphetamine into the prison, later asking the employee to smuggle in 2 ounces.

The inmate’s partner is an MS13 gang member and known gang leader in the prison, according to the probable cause statement.

Orozco allegedly supplied Ramirez’s phone number to an inmate who gave it to the prison employee to arrange the delivery of the methamphetamine, according to the probable cause statement.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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