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

Council looks to state rep for help with ferry woes

State Rep. Dave Paul was invited to a Langley city council meeting to speak about recent ferry cuts.

Service temporarily restored to Clinton-Mukilteo ferry route

Despite major slashes, the first weekend of an abridged ferry schedule saw some pleasant surprises.

Tides presentation set for Oct. 20

Phyllis Woolwine, president of Shearwater University, will deliver a presentation Oct. 20.

Vasquez speaks via Zoom during his clemency hearing.
Commutation reduces sentence in 1998 crime spree

Rogelio Vasquez’s extraordinary redemption story culminated when the governor signed a commutation.

Beluga last sighted near Whidbey

The beluga whale that first made an appearance in Puget Sound two weeks ago seems to have moved on.

Kurt Blankenship, left, and James Golder.
Hospital candidates talk staff retention, compensation

Candidates for the WhidbeyHealth board of commissioners talked about improving employee retention.

Boy accused of stomping phone following fight

The boy was charged in Island County Superior Court with malicious mischief in the third degree.

Real estate prices continue to climb on island

Despite a slight lull in August and September, it continues to be a seller’s market on Whidbey.

Clockwise from top left: Nancy Conard, Paul Rempa, Ward Sparacio, Morgan White.
Election will bring significant change to Coupeville School board

Four newcomers are vying for two open seats on Coupeville School Board.

Most Read