The investigations began in May, and now a trio of men are facing various drug charges related to a front business used to hide a drug trafficking operation.

Jose Mendoza-Ruelas, Joel Chavez-Duran, and Oscar Chavez-Garcia are all facing various counts of Distribution and Conspiracy to commit Distribution of Fentanyl and meth. They recently appeared before Federal court in Richland.

Chavez-Garcia lives at the home where the business is based out of in Kennewick.

Federal agents did not say why they opened the investigation, but it began in May as officials began to surveillance and watch the workings of Tri-Cities Affordable Landscapting LLC The BBB reports the firm became accredited in January 2021, and had been in business for two years. The BBB site shows it had an "A" rating.

The main base of operations was a home at 3829 West Kennewick Ave.

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Federal reports indicate when the property was searched they found at least $160K in cash and evidence of drug-related activity.  After beginning surveillance in May of this year, three times Federal agents conducted controlled 'sting' buys of meth and large amounts of Fentanyl from Mendoza-Ruelas, who is considered a major distributor of drugs.

Agents say evidence shows he has extensive ties to a large Mexican drug smuggling operation. Agents from the DEA and the Tri-Cities Metro Drug Task Force worked on the investigation, and now the three are facing that myriad of federal charges. They involve a lot of meth, and tens of thousands of Fentanyl pills.

The investigation continues, officials have not said if anyone else is involved in the operation here in the Tri-Cities.

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