PORT ANGELES — At least three Clallam County residents face federal drug distribution charges after local and federal law enforcement officers served warrants, including at a suspected “stash house” at the Welcome Inn RV Park.
Officers were at the RV park Wednesday night.
Officials said more arrests are likely.
Officers filed a complaint against Nicolas Orozco Cruz and Jessica Elen Christman, saying each had committed four federal counts of distribution of heroin. They each appeared in U.S. District Court on Thursday.
A record of that hearing was not available late Thursday.
Another complaint, filed against Elizabeth Ann McKean, says she committed two counts of distribution of meth. She was scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Tacoma today, officials said.
According to the complaints against Cruz, Christman and McKean, unsealed Thursday, Cruz and his drug trafficking organization are the “primary drug suppliers and distributors on the Olympic Peninsula,” pushing Mexican-produced methamphetamine and heroin.
The arrests are the result of a investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team beginning last year.
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 Olympic Peninsula in areas like Neah Bay, Seiku and Forks while Cruz focused on the eastern side in such areas as Port Angeles and Sequim.
Jodie Underwood, DEA spokesperson, said Thursday that officers had seized small quantities of heroin meth, one weapon and currency.
Cruz and Christman were each arrested as law enforcement served warrants at the Welcome Inn RV Park, 1215 U.S. Highway 101 on Wednesday night.
Law enforcement officers entered at least one trailer and searched at least one vehicle as part of the raid. They used their vehicles to block all exits from the park during the search.
Court papers show the case stemmed from the investigation of Daniel Percival, who in November 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.
Prosecutors at the time said Percival has been a “significant part of the drug culture on the Olympic Peninsula for years.”
While law enforcement surveilled Percival during the months-long investigation that led to his arrest in March 2017, law enforcement saw that Cruz was present for multiple short-stay stops where Percival was living.
After those short stay-stops, officers noticed an influx of traffic at Percival’s Gales Addition and Sequim-area homes, federal court papers say.
In July DEA agents began watching Cruz and watched him enter a home that OPNET detectives were familiar with, due to the volume of phone calls they had received from concerned citizens.
Over the summer agents watched Cruz arrive to a grocery store in Port Angeles and park next to a vehicle occupied by Christman, who they recognized as an associate of Percival.
After they met, Christman’s vehicle stopped at a home the Clallam County Sheriff’s Department had responded to on several occasions and made multiple drug-related arrests.
During the investigation, agents learned Cruz was “hyper-paranoid” and would often do drug deals while driving around the block a couple times.
Court papers say Cruz liked to keep his phone calls short and messages would not mention controlled substances.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].