News and Press Releases


February 10, 2005

JAMES J. TEMPLETON, 35, of Bellingham, Washington pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to Conspiracy to Manufacture Methamphetamine. The crime is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years to life in prison, up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to four million dollars. According to the terms of the plea agreement, U.S. District Court Judge Marsha J. Pechman can impose a sentence of between 15 and 25 years in prison when TEMPLETON is sentenced on May 18, 2005.

According to the plea agreement, TEMPLETON and others conspired to manufacture as much as a pound of methamphetamine per week. A co-conspirator provided TEMPLETON with precursor chemicals and paid him $11,000 per pound of meth.

TEMPLETON distributed the methamphetamine and received cash through Federal Express and other shipping companies. TEMPLETON distributed methamphetamine as far away as New Orleans, Louisiana and Hawaii. TEMPLETON admits he manufactured meth at three homes owned or leased for him by his mother Pamela McHatten. These included a home where his sister and brother-in-law and their children resided. All three properties were found to be contaminated with methamphetamine and the toxic chemicals associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine. In fact, TEMPLETON'S son and his sister's children have all tested positive for methamphetamine as a result of the manufacturing in their homes.

TEMPLETON also stored the hazardous chemicals in storage units he or his mother rented. TEMPLETON'S mother also purchased assets and paid expenses on his behalf and then was reimbursed by cash from the drug trade. As part of the plea agreement TEMPLETON is forfeiting assets, including a 2000 Ford Mustang registered to his wife Susan L. Thurman, and a speed boat and trailer registered to his mother Pamela McHatten.

The case was investigated by the Northwest Regional Drug Task Force, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Washington State Patrol.

Assistant United States Attorney Patricia C. Lally and Special Assistant United States Attorney E. Kate Patchen prosecuted the case.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington at (206)553-4110.

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