Bellingham woman gets nine years for role in local drug ring

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 22, 2013 

A Bellingham woman who was involved in a drug ring that distributed methamphetamine and heroin throughout Whatcom County was sentenced to nine years in prison Tuesday, May 21, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Rosie Castaneda, 37, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances in March 2012 in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

Castaneda was a supplier, customer and distributor of drugs for a drug ring headed by Bellingham resident Todd Hamilton, who has ties to an Aryan Nation prison gang known as "The Hated." She sold heroin and methamphetamine while she was under Department of Corrections supervision from a prior conviction and had been involved in using and selling drugs in the area for about 20 years, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. She used male friends and boyfriends to threaten others and make sure she got paid for the drugs she sold.

Prosecutors described Castaneda as part of a core group of criminals that was "single-handedly running the heroin and methamphetamine trade in Whatcom County," saying that her name "constantly resurfaced as a large part of the problem."

Castaneda was arrested in December 2011, along with Hamilton and several others involved in the drug ring, after a lengthy Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation.

Hamilton is set to be sentenced this July.

Reach Zoe Fraley at 360-756-2803 or zoe.fraley@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Dispatcher Blog at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher or follow us on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

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