Alleged leader of drug trafficking ring pleads not guilty

FILE - Generic gavel on wooden table.

A Longview man has pleaded not guilty to charges of leading and profiting from organized crime.

Efrein Velarde Pelayo, 33, is accused of sending a runner to sell heroin and methamphetamines to a police informant last winter. The Daily News reports he also pleaded not guilty to three felony drug charges and first-degree criminal impersonation.

When he was arrested Oct. 5, Pelayo allegedly gave officers an alias and showed them a Florida ID card with his photo and the name Luis Perez Pagan.

Pelayo posted his $50,000 bail three days after his arrest, according to court records.

The probable cause statement for the case says Pelayo sent a person to sell heroin or methamphetamines to a police informant three times in January in Longview.

The Longview Police Department Street Crimes Unit said they observed each transaction.

According to police, the informant told them they were previously a dealer for Pelayo’s "local drug trafficking organization." The police also said Pelayo "has been named as a large drug supplier in other investigations that involved the arrest of other low- or mid-level dealers in the greater Cowlitz County area."

His trial is scheduled for late December.

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