A joint operation of the Columbia River Drug Task Force and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has disrupted a drug trafficking organization in the Wenatchee Valley.

The ring, which has ties to the Southwestern U.S., has been moving large volumes of Fentanyl and methamphetamine in North Central Washington.

Task force Commander, Chris Foreman, says the investigation began in March.

“The task force started doing an investigation that involved surveillance and ended up identifying some subjects,” explained Foreman. “That ultimately led to search warrants for hotel rooms and then arrests on those subjects.”

Thus far, three suspects have been arrested, including 27-year-old Tyson Horner of Wenatchee in March, and 35-year-old Brandon Lux of Yakima and 44-year-old Nabiel Akhdary of Phoenix, Arizona earlier this month.

Each was charged with possession of illegal narcotics with intent to deliver.

Foreman says Lux and Akhdary, who was making routine flights to the Wenatchee area from Arizona to drop off the drugs, are both convicted felons.

Officials seized nearly 10,000 Fentanyl pills, 2.5 pounds of methamphetamine, two illegal firearms, and over $16,000 in cash during the investigation.

All of the seized drugs are believed to have originated in Mexico.

Foreman says the bust was substantial for the area but that the task force is seeing larger amounts of Fentanyl all the time.

“I would say that this is a big number for our task force and the Valley. But at the same time, with the current crisis at the border, the cartels are essentially flooding the market with these pills. And we’re seeing more and more of them coming in.”

It is believed there are at least three others involved in the trafficking operation – each of whom is still being investigated.

Horner and Akhdary were Federally indicted in U.S. District Court in Spokane after their arrest.