Mount Vernon man sentenced 10 years for drug trafficking, gun charges

A 24-year-old Mount Vernon man was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison for drug trafficking and gun charges.

Officials say Santos Gutierrez-Fosella was sentenced in the U.S. District Court in Seattle for drug trafficking while armed with several firearms. According to U.S. Attorney Nick Brown's office, Gutierrez-Fosella was arrested March 14, 2022 with more than 89,000 fentanyl pills, two kilos of meth and five loaded guns, one of which was an untraceable "ghost gun."

"The seriousness of your crimes has been escalating and all are tied to drugs," said U.S. District Judge Lauren King at the sentencing hearing. "You amplified danger to the public, law enforcement and yourself by trying to protect your drugs with guns.

Gutierrez-Fosella was indicted with two others on March 30, 2022—Robert Johnny, who was sentenced in Jan. 2023 to six years in prison for buying pills from Gutierrez-Fosella, and Steven Lopez Ruiz, who is scheduled for sentencing on April 5, 2023.

"Mr. Gutierrez-Fosella took more than $130,000 to Arizona to load up on potentially deadly fentanyl pills – that conduct alone indicates he was a prolific drug distributor," said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. "When the Skagit County authorities tried to arrest him, he rammed a patrol car in a futile attempt to escape. In his pocket was a loaded 9mm ghost gun. His conduct posed a danger to the community on many levels."

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According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Gutierrez-Fosella accepted pleas for several other pending charges in Skagit County, including first-degree conspiracy to commit robbery, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and third-degree possession of stolen property.