News and Press Releases

Seattle Man had been Out of State Prison for Less than Two Months when Drug Dealing Resumed

May 9, 2008

BRANDON BARNETT, 20, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to five years in prison and five years of supervised release for Distribution of Crack Cocaine. BARNETT pleaded guilty on November 21, 2007. BARNETT was arrested August 13, 2007, following a lengthy undercover investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) Violent Gang Task Force. At sentencing Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said, “the community suffers so greatly from open air drug markets and selling on the street... Crime in the neighborhood increases, and children go hungry because their parents are spending their time and money getting and using drugs.”

According to records filed in the case, BARNETT distributed crack cocaine to an undercover law enforcement source on three different occasions in the Des Moines, Washington area. The sales occurred on February 8, February 15, and March 5, 2007. The ATF Violent Gang Task Force was investigating an open air drug market on Pacific Highway South – the area was plagued with numerous shootings, assaults and robberies related to the drug and gang activity.

At the time of the drug sales, BARNETT was being supervised by state probation officers because of three prior felony convictions. BARNETT had previously been convicted of Possession of Crack Cocaine in King County Superior Court. BARNETT had been out of state prison less than two months when he sold crack to a confidential informant working with law enforcement.

Judge Lasnik noted the prior arrests saying, “you were headed for disaster, whether it was being shot or overdosing. You were rescued from a fate much worse than what you are getting here today.” BARNETT agreed, telling the judge, “I can say I was headed for self destruction... I didn’t know how to stop.”

Last week the primary drug supplier in the case, Marlon Thomas, was sentenced to eight years in prison.

The case was investigated by the ATF Violent Gang Task Force which includes agents and officers from the Seattle Police Department, the King County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Department of Corrections, and the Kent Police Department. Additional assistance was provided by the United States Marshal’s Service Pacific Northwest Fugitive Task Force, and the Des Moines Police Department.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Vince Lombardi and William H. Redkey, Jr.

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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