Federal authorities arrested five people today in connection with a ring suspected of dealing Oxycodone from Indian smoke shops in Pierce County.
The five are charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Among those charged are Billy Miranda Flores, a 40-year-old Puyallup resident, and his father, Bill Celeya Flores, a 59-year-old Tacoma resident. The two were arrested earlier today and are scheduled to make their first court appearance this afternoon.
The Flores father and son operate the Indian Smoke Shop on Puyallup Tribal Trust Land in Milton and the Little Red Smoke Shop on Tribal Trust Land in Tacoma.
Federal investigators believe that Billy Miranda Flores was selling hundreds of Oxycontin pills each day from the Indian Smoke Shop. He also would supply the pills to other members of the suspected conspiracy. The drug was sold for $40 to $80 per pill.
According to the criminal complaint, Billy Flores also sold marijuana and cocaine from his office at the Indian Smoke Shop.
“Once Billy Flores arrives, the customers line up inside the store, actually forming a line inside that stretches through the downstairs door at the base of the office stairs, towards Billy Flores’ office where he sells the Oxycontin,” the complaint states.
During an 18-month investigation, the Flores father and son reportedly sold Oxycontin to undercover agents out of the smoke shops.
Federal authorities executed several search warrants today as part of their investigation. Agents seized guns, cash and hundreds of prescription narcotics from homes, businesses and vehicles, according to the press release.
Also charged federally in the conspiracy are: Tiny Bean-Flores, 28, of Tacoma; Danny Lee Sherwood, 25, of Federal Way; and Shelbie Ingham, 18. One man, 24-year-old Jay Timothy Morehead, remains a fugitive.
If convicted as charged, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison and a $ 1 million fine.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s South Sound Gang Task Force and the DEA’s Tacoma Narcotics Enforcement Team.
UPDATE: Those arrested made their first appearances this afternoon. They will have bail hearings Friday.
Federal law enforcement agencies have been executing search warrants this morning in parts of Pierce County.
Two readers in Milton reported seeing several vehicles and crime scene tape at a smoke shop on Pacific Highway and Porter Way.
Our news partners, KIRO TV, report the raid is part of a on-going drug investigation.
UPDATE: More information about this should be released this afternoon, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The law enforcement activity today involves the FBI, DEA and the U.S. Marshal’s Office. Local law enforcement agencies also were assisting.