Following a raid on an alleged underground casino on Capitol Hill yesterday morning, federal prosecutors have filed drug and weapons charges against alleged underground casino operator Richard Wilson, his friend Marshall Reinsch and three Honduran men, Carlos Zavala-Bustillo, Cesar Canterero-Arteaga, Edwan Fletes, after a three year investigation by Seattle Police and the FBI.
Records say the investigation began in 2006 when Seattle Police Department vice detectives began looking into several underground casino operations allegedly run by Wilson.
Just after 12:30 a.m. yesterday morning, police raided Wilson’s apartment on 11th and Pike on Capitol Hill, where, a source says, he’d been hosting poker games for at least the last six months. It initially appeared police were after Wilson for running several underground casinos, but court records indicate that police believe he was part of a large drug dealing operation, which had little to do with low-stakes gambling.
It’s not clear when an undercover officer—referred to in court documents as "Brian" posed as a "trust fund baby who was only interested in partying and making a quick buck"—first met Wilson, but at some point, he began attending card games and, records say, purchased small amounts of cocaine from him, and later asked about buying larger quantities. Records say Wilson offered to introduce the undercover officer to his supplier, Marshall Reinsch.
In March 2009, the officer met with Reinsch at Joey's Restaurant in South Lake Union. According to court records, Reinsch told the officer he'd been laid off and had taken up drug dealing full-time, and bragged about selling more than a kilogram a day.
Over dinner, records say, Reinsch agreed to sell the officer a kilo of cocaine for $19,500 and offered to sell him a car with hidden compartments for drug smuggling. At the end of the meal, court records say Reinsch gave the officer a half-ounce sample of cocaine.
Following the Capitol Hill raid yesterday, one man who frequented Wilson’s card room told The Stranger that drugs were not a major part of the casino's operation. Indeed, court records seem to indicate that the while Wilson was involved with the drug deals, it appears he did little more than introduce an undercover officer to his dealer and provide security at two drug deals.
A month after the officer met with Reinsch at Joey’s, the officer met with Wilson, who agreed to provide security during a planned drug deal.
On May 9th, the day of the deal, records say the officer showed up to Wilson's apartment on 10th and Pike and paid him $500. According to court records, Wilson told the officer that $200 would be enough and handed $300 back. Court documents say Wilson then showed the officer a .38 revolver and a .357 with a Seattle Police Department stamp on the handle, as well as a shotgun, several bandoliers of shells and two sets of body armor.
Later that day, the undercover officer and an undercover FBI agent met Wilson and Reinsch at Joey's Restaurant for an exchange. Reinsch allegedly sold the officers a kilogram of cocaine for $20,500.
On June 10th, court records say, the undercover officer set up another deal and again paid Wilson $500 for security. This time, the officer planned to buy seven kilos of cocaine for $129,500; three pounds of methamphetamine for $66,000 and a modified 2001 Honda for $21,000, all totaling $217,000.
This time at the meeting, three Honduran men, Canterero-Arteaga, Fletes and Zavala-Bustillo, who claimed to be Reinsch’s supplier, accompanied Reinsch. After making the deal, Seattle Police took the all of the men into custody. Records indicate Wilson, who was supposed to be providing security, showed up late and was arrested. Court documents say officers found methamphetamines in Wilson's wallet.
Seattle Police still won’t comment on the investigation which, they say, is ongoing.