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'Snow Queen' sentenced to prison on drug charges

A woman police nicknamed "The Snow Queen" is heading to federal prison for leading in a large cocaine- trafficking origination.

Adelma Niebla Cook, 34, has been sentenced to more than 13 years in prison for what prosecutors described as a "leadership role in a drug trafficking organization" that brought cocaine and methamphetamine to the Rogue Valley from Mexico.

Senior U.S. District Judge Owen M. Panner also ordered the forfeiture of her Medford home, an Infiniti G35 sports car and more than $10,000 cash, the U.S. Attorney's Office reported in a news release.

Cook was among 10 people arrested on various felony charges, ranging from drug possession to probation violations, during a large drug sweep in July 2011.

Cook was arrested in an effort named "Operation Snow Queen" by local police.

"She was a big player in bringing a lot of cocaine into this area," said Lt. Brett Johnson of the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement team. "We don't often see women heading these organizations, but it does happen."

The investigation began in fall 2009, soon after the end of another large drug sweep called "Operation Goat Rope" that used informants and federal wiretaps to break up a large heroin -trafficking organization centered in Medford between 2007 and 2009.

Cook pleaded guilty to the charges, admitting that she conspired to deliver drugs here. Prosecutors said she delivered more than 5 kilograms of cocaine from January 2010 until July 28, 2011, when she was arrested.

Court documents show that Cook conspired with five other people as she made arrangements for drugs to be delivered to the Rogue Valley, made trips to pick up drugs from her suppliers, and utilized different phones to conduct different aspects of her drug trafficking activities.

Cook directed the activities of others and arranged for the delivery of large quantities of cocaine and meth from Mexico, today's release said. She made frequent trips to both Los Angeles and Salem to pick up drugs for distribution, often having someone drive her to Salem, then coming back to Medford by bus with drugs.

For a brief period, Cook stored drugs in a Medford storage unit, then had her boyfriend retrieve them so she could sell them from her home, investigators said.

Agents obtained a federal search warrant for the storage unit and seized a locked safe containing a large quantity of cocaine and meth, along with laser scales and drug paraphernalia. After that seizure, Cook arranged to pay to have a safe stored at a relative's apartment. A later search under another warrant again found the safe contained large quantities of meth and cocaine.

The investigation by federal and local authorities involved multiple court-authorized wiretaps, surveillance and controlled purchases, and the execution of a number of search warrants, officials said.

During the same time, Cook was charged with possession of cocaine in Jackson County Circuit Court stemming from an incident unrelated to the federal investigation. As part of the state sentence, she entered a state drug diversion program.

However, prosecutors said she continued to engage in drug trafficking while participating in the diversion program, distributing cocaine and meth between drug rehabilitation sessions and continuing to direct those she was dealing with.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.