The leader of a heroin distribution ring who laundered the proceeds back to his native Ecuador was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 57 months in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. Fredy Ramon Gutama-Gutama, 26, who resided in Lynnwood, conspired with his brother and others to make drug sales in various parks in north Seattle and hide their drug supply in various publicly accessible locations.

At the sentencing hearing U.S District Judge Thomas S. Zilly said “Heroin is a terrible epidemic in our country…. This defendant was participating in the distribution of a significant amount of heroin….  He sold 500 doses in one sale, and left heroin in places where there was access to everyone, including children.”

“This defendant and his heroin dealing contributed to the opioid crisis affecting our neighborhoods and communities,” said U.S. Attorney Hayes.  “In addition, in an effort to avoid getting caught, he and his co-conspirators stashed their drugs in publicly accessible places, often near public parks, thus putting kids and others at unnecessary risk.”

According to records filed in the case, the defendants repeatedly sold heroin to a person working with law enforcement and sent the cash proceeds both across the country and to Ecuador. While under law enforcement surveillance, the conspirators stashed some of their drugs in a rockery in the Roosevelt neighborhood of north Seattle that was very near the park and children’s playground at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center. Law enforcement seized the drugs. The conspirators were also observed making drug sales at Green Lake Park and in Northacres Park. The men hid their drugs in a public place to reduce their risk of being caught by law enforcement with significant quantities of heroin in their possession.

Gutama-Gutama was indicted in March 2017, and pleaded guilty in January 2018 to conspiracy to distribute heroin and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  His brother, Fabian Martin Gutama-Gutama, 20, pleaded guilty and was sentenced last month to 18 months in prison.  Both men will likely be deported following their prison terms.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sarah Vogel and Kate Vaughan.