Published On: Wed, Dec 19th, 2018

Transnational Drug Trafficker, Jese Casillas Sentenced to 25 Years for Drug Distribution

Joseph H. Harrington, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Jese Carillo Casillas, age 33, based out of Kennewick, Washington, was sentenced after having pleaded guilty on August 24, 2018 to Conspiracy to Distribute Fentanyl, Heroin, Methamphetamine, and Cocaine, as well as Conspiracy Launder Money. Senior United States District Judge Edward F. Shea sentenced Casillas to a 25-year term of imprisonment for his role in the drug conspiracy, to run concurrent to a 15-year term of imprisonment for Casillas’ role in the money laundering conspiracy, to be followed by a 5-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison. Upon completion of his sentence, Casillas will be deported because he is not a citizen of the United States.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, this case arose from a joint investigation into the Ivan Calvillo Transnational Drug Trafficking Organization that has had a distribution cell rooted in the Eastern District of Washington since 2010. The investigation culminated in the arrest and indictment of 16 members of the organization for various drug trafficking and money laundering offenses. After Ivan Calvillo was murdered in Mexico in December 2015, Casillas took over operations for the organization, including the importation and distribution of Fentanyl, Heroin, Methamphetamine, and Cocaine. Casillas reported directly to the head of the transnational trafficking organization in Mexico. The organization was responsible for the monthly distribution of 50 to 100 kilograms of narcotics into the United States and Canada. From early 2015 until his arrest in August of 2016, this distribution network was organized, facilitated, and controlled by Casillas out of Kennewick, Washington.

Photo/Sammis Reachers

This organization was known for its ability to import large quantities of these narcotics through designated half-way points in the Los Angeles and Riverside California areas into Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and to various locations throughout the Midwest and East Coast to include North and South Dakota, Minneapolis, Chicago, Kentucky, and New York for distribution.

In partnering with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit in Vancouver British Columbia and DEA Financial Crimes Task Force in Boston, Massachusetts, a large part of the investigation also involved the tracking of the organization’s drug cash proceeds. A DEA undercover officer, posing as a person who could launder the organization’s money, was in direct communication with Calvillo and later Casillas, who arranged for over two dozen cash money pick-ups of drug proceeds. The undercover agent would agree to pick up the cash drug proceeds and then took direction from Calvillo and Casillas as to where the laundered drug money should be wired. During this process, investigators were able to identify the scope of the organization as well as other members within this district. Calvillo and Casillas arranged for over $1.6 million dollars in cash drug proceeds to be picked up by the undercover operatives.

Joseph H. Harrington said, “This case highlights the joint commitment, dedication, and partnership between our state and federal partners as well as our international partners, in combatting this problem and the accompanying violence associated with trafficking such dangerous drugs into our community. I commend their outstanding work. This investigation made a substantial mark upon a large-scale organization operating throughout the world that had chosen our district as a point of operation. It is these types of investigations that bring into focus the dangers drug trafficking organization pose to our communities.”

Today’s enforcement action is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. The OCDETF program provides supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved in the investigation of drug-related crimes. This OCDETF investigation is being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force in Tri-Cities Washington, the Drug Enforcement Administration in Boston, Seattle, Mexico City and Vancouver; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit in Vancouver British Columbia, Canada; Kennewick Police Department, Richland Police Department, Pasco Police Department, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, and Washington Department of Corrections. This case was prosecuted by Stephanie Van Marter and Caitlin Baunsgard, Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington.

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