Three suspected drug dealers indicted on federal charges

Trio believed to be primary suppliers of drugs on Olympic Peninsula

TACOMA — Three people that federal and local law enforcement believed to be the primary illicit drug suppliers on the Olympic Peninsula have been indicted on several federal drug charges.

Nicolas “Nico” Orozco-Cruz, who, according to court papers, was the head of the drug trafficking organization, was indicted for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, six counts of distribution of a controlled substance and alien in possession of a firearm.

Court papers say Orozco-Cruz was in the United States illegally.

Orozco-Cruz, Elizabeth Ann McKean and Jessica Elen Christman were each arrested in May following a year-long Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team and Drug Enforcement Administration probe into Orozco-Cruz’s drug trafficking organization, which officials believed was the primary supplier of Mexican-produced heroin and methamphetamine on the Olympic Peninsula.

Orozco-Cruz was arrested May 23 at his stash house at the Welcome Inn RV Park in Port Angeles. McKean and Christman were subsequently arrested in other parts of Clallam County.

Orozco-Cruz, McKean and Christman were indicted on the charges June 6 and since then McKean and Christman have been released from custody. Orozco-Cruz remains held at Federal Detention Center SeaTac.

McKean is indicted on conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and three counts of distribution of a controlled substance.

Christman was indicted on conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, four counts of distribution of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

Prosecutors filed paperwork showing intent for Orozco-Cruz, McKean and Christman to forfeit $16,473 seized from Orozco-Cruz’s home in Port Angeles, $2,722 seized from Christman’s home and their proceeds from selling drugs.

During the investigation, members of the drug trafficking organization have been “hypersensitive” to police presence, but investigators gained information from several people who admitted to purchasing drugs from them, court records say.

Records say McKean focused on distributing drugs to the western-most parts of the North Olympic Peninsula in areas such as Neah Bay, Sekiu and Forks while Orozco-Cruz focused on the eastern side in such areas as Port Angeles and Sequim.

Investigators performed surveillance at several areas where they suspected drug deals were happening, including at the residences of Daniel Percival just prior to his arrest last year.

In November, Percival was sentenced in U.S. District Court to more than six years in federal prison after admitting to trafficking large amounts of heroin and meth into Clallam County.

While law enforcement surveilled Percival during the months-long investigation that led to his arrest in March 2017, law enforcement saw that Orozco-Cruz was present for multiple short-stay stops where Percival was living.

________

Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].

More in Crime

Most Read