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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

June 11, 2010

Jenny A. Durkan, United States Attorney

Renton Resident Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison for Cocaine Trafficking

Mexican National Had Previously Been Deported Following Jail Term in Snohomish County

FLORENCIO VILLA-CRUZ, aka Rodolfo Salas-Zarate, 27, of Renton, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to ten years in prison and five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute cocaine. VILLA-CRUZ is a Mexican citizen who likely will be deported following his prison term. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Richard S. Jones noted that VILLA-CRUZ was involved in a very large drug distribution ring.

According to records filed in the case, in 1999, VILLA-CRUZ was sentenced to four months in jail in Snohomish County for conspiracy to deliver cocaine. VILLA-CRUZ was deported following the prison term. VILLA-CRUZ was indicted in September 2007 and again in August 2009 as part of an investigation of a large drug smuggling ring. At the time of his arrest, agents found more than a kilogram of cocaine, a large quantity of highly pure methamphetamine, and more than $50,000 cash in his Renton apartment and more than $6,000 cash from his other residence.

In asking for a lengthy sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Karyn Johnson wrote to the court that VILLA-CRUZ has been a drug dealer for years. He has no verified legitimate employment. Rather, Defendant has a prior drug felony conviction for conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Defendant was deported, but paid a coyote so that he could illegally re-enter the United States. Upon his illegal re-entry, Defendant continued to engage in drug trafficking.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Seattle Police Department (SPD). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karyn Johnson.