JUNE 07 (SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Special Agent in Charge Bruce C. Balzano and United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that a federal grand jury returned a multi-count indictment charging Israel “Puck” Washington, 39, of Sacramento; Deyonte Spears, 25, of Oakland; Tyrone Weathersby, 44, of Sacramento; Anthony Sanchez, 28, of Sacramento; and Myron Meadows, 42, of Sacramento, for trafficking heroin, methamphetamine, MDMA, and Oxycodone. The grand jury returned a second indictment against Washington charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Sacramento District Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, Sacramento Police Department, and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.
According to court documents, beginning in approximately 2010, DEA learned that Washington was a very large distributor in the Sacramento area of cocaine base, cocaine, and heroin. Washington used various businesses as a front to conceal and disguise his extensive drug trafficking and operated a large “crew” of gang members as his drug distribution organization. During a DEA investigation in 2010 and 2011, one of Washington’s businesses, Wet Ways Auto Body and Paint Shop, was identified as a place where Washington and his associates conducted drug deals.
In 2012, DEA conducted multiple undercover controlled purchases of heroin, methamphetamine, MDMA, and Oxycodone from Washington’s organization. The drug traffickers under Washington included co-defendants Spears, Weathersby, Sanchez, and Meadows. On May 21, 2013, DEA served multiple search warrants at locations throughout Sacramento associated with this drug trafficking ring. Agents seized a stolen firearm and more than three pounds of heroin at stash pads maintained by the group. Four of the five defendants were arrested, but Weathersby remains a fugitive at this time. They are scheduled to be arraigned on June 12, 2013.
The firearm indictment against Washington stems from a 2011 search warrant served at Washington’s residence by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. During a homicide investigation, Sacramento County Sheriff’s detectives identified Washington as being involved in a shootout at a south Sacramento nightclub. When Sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant at Washington’s residence, they discovered three semi-automatic pistols. The indictment alleges that Washington is prohibited from possessing firearms because of four prior felony convictions for drug trafficking and assault with a deadly weapon.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program that was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.
When prosecuted in federal court, drug traffickers typically receive much harsher sentences. In addition to the longer sentences imposed, unlike state court prisoners who are released early on parole, there is no early release on parole in the federal system.
Each of the defendants face maximum statutory penalties of up to life in prison and statutory mandatory minimum sentence of between 10 and 20 years in prison based upon their criminal history and the quantity of drugs charged. Any sentences, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.