Convicted felons, former prison guard among 20 WA residents arrested for drug ring tied to Aryan prison gang

Twenty-seven people were indicted by a grand jury for drug trafficking ring in Washington, Arizona, Idaho and Alaska. Over 20 of those indicted are Washington residents. 

On March 22, a coordinated takedown involving ten SWAT teams and more than 350 law enforcement officers resulted in the seizure of an additional 177 firearms, more than 22 pounds of methamphetamine, 24.3 pounds of fentanyl pills and more than two pounds of fentanyl powder, nearly seven pounds of heroin, and more than $330,000 in cash from 18 locations in Washington and Arizona.  

Before last week’s takedown, during the year that the ring was under investigation, law enforcement seized 830,000 fentanyl pills, 5.5 pounds of fentanyl powder, 223 pounds of methamphetamine, 3.5 pounds of heroin, five pounds of cocaine, $388,000 in cash, and 48 firearms, according to the Department of Justice. 

The DOJ said that many of those indicted are tied to the "Aryan Family," a white supremacist prison gang. A report from the Anti-Defamation League says the white supremacist group was founded in 1993 within the Washington state prison system.

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Photos from FBI

The alleged leader of the drug trafficking organization, Jesse James Bailey, is also an influential member of the Aryan Family prison gang, according to the DOJ. Bailey is alleged to have trafficked huge amounts of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and other drugs in Washington, Idaho, and to Alaska. 

"The sheer amount of narcotics seized in this investigation is shocking," said Jacob D. Galvan, Acting Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle. "The fentanyl seized in this operation contained enough lethal doses to kill everyone who lives in Tacoma and Seattle, with enough lethal doses left over to poison another half a million people." 

Deputy Secretary of WA DOC confirmed Bailey had a relationship with former WA DOC employee, Candice Bailey. She was under investigation for her romantic relationship with Jesse Bailey. Though court documents say she was terminated, a WA DOC spokesperson says she resigned in 2014. The DOJ says Candice is also a member of the Aryan Family and is among the defendants.

"The organization comprised of individuals linked to a white supremacist group cultivated business relationship with members of the Sinaloa Cartel to import a staggering amount of narcotics," said Galvan.

These Washington defendants have been indicted by the grand jury:

  • Jesse James Bailey, 39, of Steilacoom, Washington, in custody
  • Thomas Carver, 59, of Auburn, Washington in custody
  • Yehoshua Kilp, 37, incarcerated in Washington State prison
  • Gustavo Castellanos-Tapia, 37, of Burien, Washington, in custody
  • Candice Bailey, 41, of Steilacoom, in custody
  • Ronald McComb, 58, of Ridgefield, Washington, in custody
  • Keagen Larsen, 28, currently incarcerated in King County Jail
  • Sean Moinette, 54, of Spanaway, Washington in custody
  • Gregory Beers, 30, of Edgewood, Washington, being sought by law enforcement
  • Michael Warren, 63, of Shelton, Washington, in custody
  • Sara Thompson, 37, of Bonney Lake, Washington, in custody
  • Shawn Ellis, 31, of Renton, Washington, in custody
  • Eric Smith, 52, incarcerated in Washington State prison
  • Joseph Hempel, 45, of Burien, Washington, in custody
  • Daniel Hammond, 41, of Puyallup, Washington, in custody
  • Philip Boorkman, 40, of Seattle, in custody
  • C’La Morales, 36, of Pierce County, in custody
  • Ronnie Griffin, 64, of Tacoma, in custody
  • Anna Sarnes, 37, of Quilcene, Washington, in custody
  • Anthony Escoto, 51, of Tukwila, in custody
  • Dana Hanson, 57, of Burbank, Washington, in custody
  • Justin Hanson, 48, of Burbank, Washington in custody