BELLINGHAM, Wash. —Bellingham-based Air and Marine Operations ground teams and H125 aircrews took part in multiple high-risk search warrant operations involving federal, state, and local partners that led to the arrests of six members of a drug distribution conspiracy operating in Skagit and Whatcom counties on Nov. 30. The six individuals were charged federally Wednesday morning.
Bellingham Air and Marine Branch agents worked with law enforcement partners in an inter-agency law enforcement investigation that led to the search warrant operation surge on Nov. 30. As a direct result of this investigative and operational cooperation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office federally charged six individuals, and seized 85,000 fentanyl pills, approximately five pounds of fentanyl powder, 14 pounds of methamphetamine, two pounds of heroin, 11 pounds of cocaine, five vehicles, and $185,000.
The investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bellingham Resident Office, working with the Whatcom County Drug and Gang Task Force, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, the Skagit County Interlocal Drug Enforcement Unit, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington State Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force, CBP Air and Marine Operations, the Lummi Police Department, the Everson Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Bellingham Air and Marine Branch is part of AMO’s Northern Region (NR), an operating environment that differs vastly from other AMO regions and requires a unique law enforcement approach. The NR area of responsibility (AOR) extends from the state of Washington to Maine and includes 4,668 miles of land and water along the shared U.S. Canadian border. The AOR encompasses regional non-border states, the upper Pacific Northwest, and the Great Lakes system.
AMO safeguards our nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond. With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO serves as the nation’s experts in airborne and maritime law enforcement.
In Fiscal Year 2021, AMO enforcement actions resulted in 1,119 arrests and 122,035 apprehensions of undocumented individuals as well as the seizure or disruption of 324,772 pounds of cocaine, 779,725 pounds of marijuana, 18,548 pounds of methamphetamine, 900 weapons and $73.3 million.