WENATCHEE —The Columbia River Drug Task Force simply miscounted the money it seized last April while serving a search warrant on suspected cocaine traffickers.
Outside investigators from Grays Harbor police and the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office found no evidence of wrongdoing by the task force, which impounded $68,462 and two pounds of cocaine from the Malaga home of Cesar Javier Mora, 52.
The initial estimate of the money seized was more than $85,000. Jason Reinfeld, chief of special operations for the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, says task force investigators simply made a numerical mistake when initially accounting for the seized money.
“We’re confident it was just a counting error, which shouldn’t have happened, but unfortunately it did,” Reinfeld said. “The task force did a great investigation overall. “
Cesar Mora is serving a year and day in prison after pleading guilty to cocaine possession and a firearms charge. Another man, Jose Carmen Valadez, 56, got a 20-month sentence Monday for selling cocaine from Mora’s home.
The multi-agency Columbia River Drug Task Force was created in 1991, with the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office as supervising member. Three sheriff’s detectives participate in the force, along with one Wenatchee Police detective, one detective from the East Wenatchee Police Department and one from the Washington State Patrol.