Imprisoned gang leader pleads guilty to Kitsap RICO case, could face life sentence

A two-year criminal investigation associated with methamphetamine trafficking and distribution ended Jan. 11 when an East Bremerton gang leader pleaded guilty leading  members of the “Sureños” in efforts to smuggle pounds of meth into Kitsap County and surrounding counties.

Edgar Armando Perez, 34, of East Bremerton, pleaded guilty in Kitsap County Superior Court to leading organized crime, according to a statement from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

With a lengthy criminal history that includes eight felony convictions, Perez faces a range of 10 years to life in prison.

He was arrested on Dec. 8 at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla where he was serving a sentence for a previous felony conviction.

He remains in custody in the Kitsap County jail, without bail, pending sentencing.

West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team started the investigation into Perez and fellow gang members in January 2010. The breadth of his drug trafficking investigation began in Kitsap County and spread throughout Washington state and south to California and into Mexico.

The investigation centered on drug dealing, specifically methamphetamine, by Perez, his mules and distributors. As the primary leader for drug distribution in the state, he arranged for the delivery of meth with drug sales proceeds being returned back to Mexico.

Perez’ reach included sending drugs into Chelan, King, Mason and Pierce counties, according to authorities.

Investigators said that Perez’ mules delivered 20 pounds of meth or more, at a time, from Mexico for distribution and street sale.

More than 45 handguns and rifles — 10 stolen — were seized during the course of the investigation. More than 32 pounds of methamphetamine with an approximate street value of $500,000 and 100 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $250,000 were also seized. Stolen law enforcement equipment and $70,000 in case was also recovered.

Many members of Perez’ organization — he was known as “Gramps” among others within Sureños, a Hispanic street gang — are in custody.

Of all the convictions in this drug trafficking group, 24 out of 30 suspects lived and operated in Kitsap County.

Nine have received federal convictions, with two having been indicted with federal prosecution pending. Nineteen other members have been convicted in Washington state courts. Sentencing ranges for this organization of criminals range from three to 12.5 years.

Authorities did not release other names.

Several federal and state agencies were involved in the investigation, which was provided supplemental funding because it was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation.

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