- Associated Press - Thursday, August 11, 2016

SEATTLE (AP) - The alleged leader of a heroin trafficking organization tied to Seattle has been arrested in Mexico and returned to the U.S. to face charges, authorities said Thursday.

U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes said in a news release that 34-year-old Ricardo Ramacho was arrested August 9 near Tijuana, Mexico after eluding authorities for weeks.

He and four others arrested in Washington state were indicted in June on drug-trafficking charges related to distributing large quantities of heroin, according to Hayes.

The others indicted include 25-year-old Alexa Bockmier; 30-year-old Nicholas Bond; and 64-year-old Burrell de Bose, aka “O.G.;” all of Seattle; and 28-year-old Cody Clay of Renton.

During the last five years, the defendants participated in a drug distribution ring directed by Ramacho, a U.S. citizen, from his residence in the Tijuana area, according to the indictment.

Members of federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as partners in Mexico, began observing the organization’s activities in June 2014 and court documents say they saw a drug supply purchase in Arizona and numerous drug sales at a Seattle home and gas station. Hayes said heroin was smuggled from Arizona to Washington - with some of it hidden behind door panels in rental cars.

“Our joint efforts enabled us to identify and shut down a significant drug-trafficking activity and key elements of the organization supporting it,” Special Agent in Charge Frank Montoya, Jr., of the FBI’s Seattle division, said. “The FBI is particularly appreciative of our law enforcement partners in Mexico.”

Ramacho has been transferred to FBI custody and made his initial appearance Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, in San Diego. He will be transported to Seattle to face charges. It wasn’t immediately known whether Ramacho had an attorney.

Those arrested in Washington have each pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to distribute heroin and all except for Bond have entered not guilty pleas to one or more counts of heroin distribution, according to Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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