Feds bust alleged meth smugglers in Oak Harbor

Oak Harbor police photo
                                An undercover agent purchased 50 pounds of methamphetamine from suspects in Oak Harbor.

Oak Harbor police photo An undercover agent purchased 50 pounds of methamphetamine from suspects in Oak Harbor.

City, county, tribal and federal law enforcement took part in a drug bust in Oak Harbor Wednesday that resulted in the seizure of 50 pounds of methamphetamine and the arrest of two men, according to a press release from Oak Harbor Police Chief Kevin Dresker.

The federal task force behind the high-level narcotics trafficking investigation is known as BEST, which is short for Border Enforcement Security Task Force. It is comprised of law enforcement from Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs and Border Protection Air Marine Operations, Border Patrol, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.

The probable cause statement filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle states that, beginning in late September, agents in Arizona investigated smugglers who were allegedly transporting meth from Mexico to Western Washington.

On Oct. 23, special agents from BEST conducted an undercover buy of meth in the Rite Aid Pharmacy parking lot in Oak Harbor; the team was assisted by the Oak Harbor police and the Island County Sheriff’s Office.

One suspect, later identified as Taylor Addington, was observed walking out of the Acorn Motor Inn with a large black suitcase, which he placed in the trunk of a rental car, court documents state. A man later identified as Brandon Melito got into the passenger seat, the report states.

An undercover agent met with the men and purchased the meth, the report indicates. The meth weighed 50 pounds and was worth about $150,000, the press release states.

Addington and Melito were arrested without incident and brought to the Oak Harbor police station for interviews. Addington allegedly admitted to selling the meth to the agent and claimed he was a “middle man” in the smuggling operation; he said he was supposed to be paid $2,000, the court document states.

The two suspects have no known ties to Whidbey Island, Dresker said. Oak Harbor was just a “pass-through” location and the drugs were meant for an unknown larger population area off-island, he added.

A complaint was filed in federal court against both men Oct. 24. They are accused of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

More in News

Island distiller brewing up hand sanitizer

In response to the growing demand for hand sanitizer, one of Whidbey’s… Continue reading

2 from Careage die from COVID-19 as number of cases jump to 42

Two residents from Careage of Whidbey in Coupeville died as a result… Continue reading

Judge revoked man’s bail for violating no-contact orders

A judge revoked bail on a 36-year-old man who is facing prison… Continue reading

Ebey’s Forever grants announced

The Trust Board of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve and the Friends… Continue reading

Navy to conduct real-time noise monitoring on Whidbey

Federal, state and county officials who want the Navy to conduct real-world… Continue reading

Hospital has six ventilators, hoping to get more

WhidbeyHealth has six or seven ventilators in the hospital — depending on… Continue reading

Oak Harbor looks at minimizing utility rate increase

The monthly rate Oak Harbor residents pay for city-provided utilities will increase… Continue reading

Photo by Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times
                                Careage of Whidbey, a skilled nursing facility in Coupeville, is the site of a cluster of COVID-19 cases.
32 test positive for COVID-19 at Careage

A total of 32 residents and staff members at the Careage of… Continue reading

Community Resiliency Fund to aid charities with COVID-19 response

A nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting other charities on Whidbey Island is… Continue reading

Most Read