The King County Correctional Facility in Seattle. COURTESY PHOTO, King County

The King County Correctional Facility in Seattle. COURTESY PHOTO, King County

King County jail guard reportedly took bribes to smuggle drugs to inmates

Allegedly took in methamphetamine and fentanyl to two inmates at Seattle correctional facility

A former King County jail guard, two inmates and three other people, including a Kent woman, were allegedly involved in a scheme to smuggle methamphetamine and fentanyl into the King County Correctional Facility in Seattle.

All six were indicted by a federal grand jury for five felonies including bribery, drug possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy.

According to the indictment, Mosses Ramos, 39, of Milton, a former jail guard, between March and May 2023, allegedly accepted bribes to bring methamphetamine and fentanyl into the jail for the benefit of inmates Michael Anthony Barquet, 37, and Francisco Montero, 25.

Montero remains in the jail awaiting trial on murder charges filed in 2021 in the 2018 killing of two teen girls in Burien. Montero already had pleaded guilty in 2019 to a 2017 gang killing in Burien. Barquet served time between March 2022 and July 2023. Jail records didn’t list his charges.

Ramos worked as a correctional officer for 17 years - from June 2006 until he was fired in September 2023.

The web of bribes and drug trafficking reportedly extended outside the jail with alleged co-conspirators who are associates of the two inmates: Neca Silvestre, 38, of Kent; Katrina Cazares, 38, of Burien; and Kayara Zepeda, 27, of Seattle, according to a Nov. 2 news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Silvestre and Zepeda are described in court documents as associates of Montero and Cazares as an associate of Barquet. All three associates reportedly delivered drugs to Ramos and then paid him for smuggling the drugs into the jail and delivering them to Barquet and Montero.

According to court documents, Ramos reportedly received approximately $5,000 to smuggle drugs into the jail on or about March 23-24, 2023.

“Fentanyl and meth are horribly destructive in our community, and our correctional institutions are not immune,” Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman said. “The challenge of keeping inmates safe is made much more difficult when correctional staff betray their positions of trust and authority.

“I credit King County law enforcement officials with working quickly and cooperatively with the FBI to identify those allegedly involved in this bribery and drug smuggling conspiracy.”

Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Seattle, said the collaboration with the King County jail, King County Sheriff’s Office, King County Prosecutor’s Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office led to the arrests.

”Our partners identified the actions of an employee and brought the case to our attention which resulted in a successful joint investigation,” Collodi said. “This demonstrates the commitment by public safety professionals to hold those who violate this trust to the highest standards.”

Each of the defendants is charged with four counts in the five-count indictment. Ramos is charged with soliciting and accepting a bribe. The other defendants are charged with bribery for paying the bribes. All are charged with conspiracy to engage in bribery, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute.

For Ramos, Barquet and Montero, the charges carry mandatory minimum sentences, if convicted, of 10 years in prison and up to life in prison. The other defendants face up to 20 years in prison, if convicted.

King County Executive Dow Constantine issued the following statement:

“The charges alleged in this indictment represent not just a breach of public safety, but a disdain for the trust placed in those we count on to serve and protect,” Constantine said. “I want to make clear - the charges against this former employee and his co-conspirators tarnish the work that our corrections officers do every day to serve their community with professionalism and the highest standards of care.

“The public can count on King County to continue doing everything we can to stop fentanyl and other contraband from entering our correctional facilities.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentnews.us.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://kentnews.us/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Northwest

A Sound Transit fare ambassador checks with a light rail rider. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit
Fare inspections at Sound Transit Link stations begin June 3

Passengers will need proof of payment within fare paid zones at boarding areas

Jeffrey Nelson at his trial May 16, 2024. (Photo by Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times / Pool)
Murder trial begins for Auburn Police officer Jeffrey Nelson

First officer in Washington to face a murder charge following the passage of Initiative 940.

Men serving halal food on Eid Mubarak 2024. Photo By Joshua Solorzano/Federal Way Mirror
Washington state passes Halal Food Consumer Protection Act

Federal Way Muslim activist details how this bill came about and why it is important

t
Head-on collision kills 31-year-old woman in Auburn

The fatal collision occurred May 11 in the area of I Street Northeast in north Auburn.

Gov. Inslee announces the $45 million EV rebate program on April 23. Courtesy image
Governor announces rebate program for EV purchases

Washington is the first state to prioritize low-cost leases for electric vehicles.

U.S. Courthouse in Seattle. COURTESY PHOTO, U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Way man pleads guilty to assaulting woman on flight

Man accused of inappropriately touching a female passenger.

t
Construction begins on new Valley Cancer Center in Renton

Renton’s Valley Medical Center serves over 600,000 residents throughout South King County.

Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson. COURTESY FILE PHOTO
Jury selection begins in Auburn Police officer's trial

Jeffrey Nelson faces charges of murder and assault for 2019 killing of Jesse Sarey.

t
Auburn Police arrest driver at Lea Hill Park for hitting woman | Video

Dashcam footage shows the pursuing officer deploying a PIT maneuver on the Honda Fit

Renton Regional Fire Authority. Courtesy image.
Firefighters extinguish large brush fire in Renton

Broke out Friday, April 19; could be seen from Interstate 405