News and Press Releases

TACOMA MAN SENTENCED TO 60 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR CRACK COCAINE DISTRIBUTION
Repeat Offender Had Stolen Gun at Time of Arrest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2006

THOMAS JAMES BELL Jr. aka “Squirt,” 24, of Tacoma, Washington was sentenced today to 60 months in prison and five years of supervised release for Possession of Crack Cocaine with Intent to Distribute. Prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Franklin D. Burgess for the lengthy sentence noting BELL’s prior criminal history.

According to documents filed in the case, in June, 2005, members of the Pierce County Violent Crimes Task Force and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department were looking for BELL in connection with a hit and run accident that occurred in March, 2005. BELL was observed driving from one apartment complex to another. As he attempted to enter the second apartment complex he was arrested by police. Officers found crack cocaine and nearly $1,000 cash in his pocket. BELL admitted the money was from dealing crack. Inside the car BELL had been driving was a stolen .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol.

BELL has previous convictions since 2002 in both California and Washington. His California convictions are for domestic battery, marijuana possession and failure to appear. His Washington conviction is for unlawful solicitation to possess a controlled substance (crack cocaine).

Documents filed in the case reveal BELL has significant gang affiliations in California.

The case was investigated by the Pierce County Violent Crimes Task Force which includes officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC), Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, Tacoma Police Department and Lakewood Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gregory A. Gruber.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office at (206)553-4110.

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