A Washington state man was indicted in a federal court after police found nearly 100 pounds of fentanyl and methamphetamine and stolen firearms in his hotel room.
According to a Justice Department press release, Cesar Leonel Contreras-Arias, 43, faces three felony charges, including unlawful possession of firearms, possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute and possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
According to court documents, Contreras-Arias was arrested February 2, 2023, at Clarion Inn in Tacoma, Washington.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) began searching for him after learning he had been violating the conditions of his parole. Police found that he had been living in the hotel for approximately 1 year and dealing illegal drugs.
When they arrived at the hotel, authorities found Contreras-Arias sitting in his car. He allegedly attempted to flee officers and crashed his car into a police vehicle in the parking lot.
After police captured Contreras-Arias, officers found $7,000 in cash, multiple cell phones, and three room keys on him, court documents say. A handgun was also found in his vehicle, which he had reportedly stolen.
When law enforcement searched the three hotel rooms, they found an astounding 90 pounds of methamphetamine and five pounds of fentanyl powder. Authorities also found eleven passports and four firearms.
They also found:
Authorities said that Contreras-Arias was prohibited from possessing firearms due to a 2016 conviction for violating a protection order.
Contreras-Arias faces a minimum of 15 years in prison and could be sentenced to as much as a life sentence for the illicit drugs found. His arraignment is scheduled for next week.
Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman said that prosecuting drug traffickers remains a top priority for federal law enforcement.
“This defendant was being sought on a Washington Department of Corrections warrant for escape, when he was found to have multi-pound quantities of fentanyl and methamphetamine,” Gorman said. “Equally concerning was his possession of firearms – many of them reported stolen from across the Puget Sound region. Prosecuting armed drug traffickers remains a top priority for federal law enforcement.”