A Renton couple were convicted Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The jury deliberated about three hours following a five-day trial before delivering the verdict.
According to a press release from the US. Attorney's office in Seattle:
Ruben Ramirez-Ventura, 25, and his common-law-wife, Marisol Perez-Almonte, 28, were arrested after they were pulled over near Ashland, Oregon for speeding in February 2010. According to testimony at the trial, Ramirez-Ventura had been identified by law enforcement as a supplier of cocaine to a local dealer in the Seattle area. Seattle police also learned that Perez-Almonte had a connection to drug traffickers based in Sinaloa, Mexico.
Police kept them under surveillance as they arranged for a buy in Southern California. They drove down to Moreno Valley leaving at 1 a.m. in the morning. The next day they met with an unidentified man at a motel. Police observed as the couple moved their Chevy Tahoe to a secluded part of the parking lot and the male defendant was seen tampering with various objects in the rear passenger seat as the woman looked on. They quickly headed back north on Interstate 5.
During the Oregon traffic stop, a police dog indicated the SUV might contain narcotics. After obtaining a search warrant, investigators found six kilos of cocaine hidden in the cushions of the rear passenger seat.
Because of the quantity of cocaine involved, the defendants face a mandatory minimum ten years to life in prison when sentenced on February 4, 2010.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Seattle Police Department, with assistance from the Oregon State Police and the West Covina, California Police Department.