Vancouver restaurant manager arrested on drug allegations

‘Major player’ suspected of distributing meth

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Drug detectives said they arrested the manager of the El Rancho Viejo restaurant in Vancouver on Wednesday as a “major player” in distributing methamphetamine in Clark County.

Ramon Lopez Guitron, 44, was jailed on suspicion of three counts of delivering meth, one count of conspiracy to deliver meth and one count of maintaining a drug house.

He was being held without bail Wednesday night and is to appear in court on Monday.

Lopez Guitron had been selling meth out of the restaurant at 6321 E. Fourth Plain Blvd., just west of Andresen Road, for at least two years, said Cmdr. Mike Cooke with the Clark-Skamania Drug Task Force.

During the investigation, the task force bought meth from Guitron at the restaurant multiple times, in quantities that ranged from an ounce to 1½ pounds, a bulletin said.

“I would consider him a major player in meth distribution in Clark County,” Cooke said.

These days, few local meth labs are being found here, but, “We’re still seeing large quantities coming up from Mexico,” along Interstate 5, from drug cartels there, Cooke said. It sells here for $900 to $1,100 per ounce

The restaurant was still operating Wednesday night.

The case brings to mind a similar alleged operation at the El Parral Mexican Restaurant and Night Club, 704 Main St., in downtown Vancouver in August.

Task force detectives said they raided El Parral and several other locations and seized more than 16 pounds of meth.

Arrested on suspicion of federal crimes were Ricardo Estrada, 43, and Francisco

Cervantes, 47, both of Vancouver.

John Branton: 360-735-4513 or john.branton@columbian.com.