WA drug trafficker with cartel ties sentenced to nearly 16 years in prison

47-year-old Julio Leal Parra of Benton City has been sentenced to 191 months in federal prison for leading and organizing a drug trafficking conspiracy with ties to the Sinaloa Cartel.

According to court documents, the FBI Safe Streets Task Force identified a nationwide drug trafficking organization operating in the Tri-Cities area. Julio Leal Parra was identified as the head of a cell who worked directly with leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico.

At the sentencing hearing, Chief U.S. District Judge Stanley Bastian acknowledged that this was Parra’s first felony offense; however, given the seriousness of the case, he imposed nearly 16 years in federal custody.

Authorities say Parra organized large drug shipments of methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin throughout the state. Parra used an upholstery business and a meat market in Kennewick to store drug shipments and launder cash, according to court documents.

The FBI and local law enforcement were able to identify several members of Parra’s organization, who worked as drug distributors reaching from Arizona and California all the way to Kennewick, Spokane, Idaho and Montana. So far, 10 members of this operation have been convicted. According to law enforcement officers from Eastern Washington, more than 60 pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin have been seized over the course of the investigation.

Donald M. Voiret, Special Agent in charge of the FBI Seattle Field Office, released this statement during the court proceedings:

"Over several years, this high-level drug dealer was responsible for huge quantities of drugs being transported frequently through Eastern Washington and multiple other states. I want to thank all the partners involved in the FBI Southeast Washington Safe Streets Task Force for their commitment to this case. This sentence will remove Mr. Parra from our community for more than 15 years." 

The FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force in Tri-Cities Washington, Kennewick Police Department, Richland Police Department, Pasco Police Department, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, and Washington Department of Corrections investigated this case. 

Stephanie Van Marter, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington prosecuted this case. 

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