Two Bellingham men have been charged in federal court with conspiring to mail papers soaked in methamphetamine to inmates in state prisons.
A complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle alleges that Joseph L. Garcia, 31, supplied ounces of meth to Kirk L. Rishor, 47, who in turn soaked the drugs into high-quality, cotton-fiber paper.
Once the papers dried and a price had been negotiated with an inmate, Rishor allegedly put them into manila envelopes filled with other legal paperwork and mailed it to the prison, according to the complaint.
Rishor and Garcia were arrested in Bellingham on Nov. 12, when investigators searched Garcia's home with a warrant and found $28,000 in cash and almost 40 ounces of meth.
They were charged Nov. 19 with conspiring to distribute meth, possessing meth with intent to distribute and using the U.S. mail system to further their conspiracy.
An inmate in the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, Victor Martinez, also has been charged.
According to the complaint:
An investigator with the state Department of Corrections uncovered the scheme on Oct. 28, when he listened to phone calls inmates at prisons in Monroe and Walla Walla were making to Rishor's cell phone.
Garcia and Rishor are former inmates and were on DOC supervision while they were living in Bellingham.
On Nov. 10, a DOC investigator in Walla Walla intercepted one of Rishor's packages, which was addressed to Martinez and had the hand-written address of a Bellingham law firm as the return address.
The package contained 24 pages, but eight were blank and were the high-quality, cotton-fiber paper. On one of the pages, "4=1/2" was written, which led the investigator to believe that four pages contained a half-ounce of meth.
Investigators also listened to phone conversations three inmates at the Monroe Correctional Complex had with Rishor and believe he was sending packages there as well.
DOC officers and a U.S. Postal Inspection Service employee then went to Bellingham on Nov. 12, arrested Garcia and Rishor and booked them into the Whatcom County Jail.
They were transferred to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service on Nov. 19.