Feds Say Tri-City Landscaping Firm a Front for Mexican Drug Ring

The investigation began in May and now a trio of men face various drug charges related to a sham deal designed to hide a drug trafficking operation.

Jose Mendoza-Ruelas, Joel Chavez-Duran, and Oscar Chavez-Garcia all face various distribution charges and conspiracy to commit the distribution of fentanyl and meth. You recently appeared in federal court in Richland.

Chavez-Garcia lives in Kennewick, where the company is based.

Federal agents didn’t say why they opened the investigation, but it began in May when officials began overseeing and monitoring the work of Tri-Cities Affordable Landscapting LLC. According to BBB, the company was accredited in January 2021 and has been in business for two years. The BBB site shows that it had an “A” rating.

The main base of operations was a house at 3829 West Kennewick Ave.

Federal reports show that the property was searched and found at least $ 160,000 in cash and evidence of drug-related activity. After monitoring began in May of this year, federal agents carried out three controlled “stab” purchases of meth and large quantities of fentanyl from Mendoza-Ruelas, which is believed to be a major drug distributor.

Agents say evidence shows he has close links with a major Mexican drug smuggler. Agents from the DEA and the Tri-Cities Metro Drug Task Force worked on the investigation, and now the three are facing a variety of federal charges. They contain a lot of meth and tens of thousands of fentanyl pills.

The investigation continues, officials have not said whether anyone here in the tri-cities is still involved in the operation.

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