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REPEAT OFFENDER SENTENCED TO 11+ YEARS IN PRISON FOR GUN AND DRUG CRIMES - Seattle Man Served Eleven Years for Manslaughter Before New Spate of Crimes

June 13, 2008

JOVIA DIEZ MARTIN, 34, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 136 months in prison, and 5 years of supervised release for two counts of Possession of Crack Cocaine with intent to Distribute and one count of being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said MARTIN “has a history of drugs, drug sales... he has a history of using firearms or at least claiming he has a firearm. He has a history of intimidating other people. The court finds that the history and characteristics of this defendant make him a danger to the public.”

According to records filed in the case, MARTIN was found to be in possession of crack cocaine on two different occasions. In the first instance, MARTIN was discovered passed out behind the wheel of his car in the middle of the northbound lanes of the Alaskan Way Viaduct at 2:30 in the morning on February 2, 2007. MARTIN was arrested for DUI and in his car officers discovered a plastic bag of crack cocaine. About six weeks later, on March 16, 2007, a witness reported to Seattle Police that MARTIN had driven by him in a car and brandished a firearm, and threatened to kill him. The witness took the threat seriously because in 1994, MARTIN had been convicted in the shooting death of a friend of the witness.

Later on the evening of March 16, 2007, Seattle Police Officers stopped the car MARTIN was driving and discovered a 9mm semi-automatic weapon under the seat. A search of the home where MARTIN was staying revealed five baggies of crack cocaine and a Cobray, M-11, 9mm semi-automatic pistol among MARTIN’s belongings. That gun met the description of the one MARTIN flashed at the witness earlier in the day.

In asking for a lengthy sentence, Special Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Colasurdo described MARTIN’s extensive and violent criminal history. MARTIN had multiple felony crack cocaine arrests in 1992 and 1993. In February 1994, MARTIN shot and killed a man following an argument on the street in the Central District of Seattle. MARTIN was sentenced to 16 years in prison and was released in 2005, after 11 years. Over the years MARTIN has also been arrested for assault, fighting and property destruction. MARTIN was cited for numerous infractions while incarcerated because of anger management problems. In fact, he was terminated from an anger management class because of his poor attitude and attendance.

At sentencing Mr. Colasurdo said, “It’s alarming that after his release on (the murder) case, that he chose again to possess firearms.... That’s exactly the type of person who should never be in possession of a firearm.”

MARTIN was prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods Program. Unveiled by President George W. Bush in May 2001, Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), is a comprehensive and strategic approach to gun law enforcement. PSN is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in America by networking both new and existing local programs that target gun crime and then providing them with the resources and tools they need to succeed. Implementation at the local level -- in this case, in Seattle-- has fostered close partnerships between federal, state and local prosecutors and law enforcement.

The case was investigated by the Seattle Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Violent Gang Task Force.

The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Colasurdo. Mr. Colasurdo is a Deputy King County Prosecutor, specially designated to handle gun cases in federal court.

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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