News and Press Releases


May 18, 2005

JAMES J. TEMPLETON, 35, of Bellingham, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to twenty years in prison and 5 years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Manufacture Methamphetamine. In sentencing TEMPLETON to the lengthy term U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman told him "The amount of methamphetamine here is shocking. You are off the charts. Washington State is one of the biggest meth producing states and you are a big part of it."

On February 10, 2005, TEMPLETON pleaded guilty, admitting that he 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.

In asking for a lengthy sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Patricia Lally noted that not only were TEMPLETON'S young relatives affected, so was a Bellingham family with two young children who purchased one of the homes and lived there for a year, never knowing it had been a clandestine drug lab. These owners had "the difficult task of personally de-contaminating their home with their own limited funds. Ultimately the owners followed established cleaning protocols for the structure, disposed of furniture and removed carpeting," Lally wrote to the court. But she added there is no way "to mitigate the health risks of prior exposure to methamphetamine."

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.

In sentencing TEMPLETON to twenty years Judge Pechman said she hopes to send a message to others "If you do this kind of damage to this community, you will be taken out for most of your life." She urged TEMPLETON to be an example to younger inmates telling them about the danger of methamphetamine and its power to wreck lives.

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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