News and Press Releases

Investigation by ATF Violent Gang Task Force

May 2, 2008

MARLON THOMAS. 26, of Federal Way, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 8 years in prison and 3 years of supervised release for Possession of Crack Cocaine with Intent to Distribute. THOMAS was arrested June 26, 2007, following a lengthy undercover investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) Violent Gang Task Force. THOMAS pleaded guilty on December 7, 2007. At the time of his arrest, officers found crack cocaine and a .45 caliber handgun in his residence. At sentencing Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik called THOMAS’ crime “an extremely serious offense.”

According to records filed in the case, THOMAS was the leader of a crack cocaine distribution ring operating in the Des Moines, Washington, area. THOMAS’ arrest came after an investigation by the ATF Violent Gang Task Force into 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. Investigators used confidential informants to purchase crack cocaine. THOMAS was the person who supplied some of the lower level dealers.

When THOMAS was arrested he was already on pretrial release for state charges for possession of crack cocaine. THOMAS continued to deal drugs, even as those charges were pending. THOMAS is originally from Brooklyn, New York, where authorities say he has extensive gang ties.

At sentencing Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi urged a lengthy sentence for THOMAS saying, “He was the primary supplier for a large open-air drug market in Des Moines. At arrest, he was found with crack cocaine and a stolen handgun. Finally, he committed much of the offense conduct in this case while he was on bond awaiting trial on drug charges in the state system.”

Chief Judge Robert S. Lasnik noted THOMAS’ four young children and his wife in court, and said he thought THOMAS had the “capacity for rehabilitation because he has stayed loyal to his wife and children.” Judge Lasnik said he hopes THOMAS will have a goal to get back to his family following his prison term. The judge noted that drug dealing “has a devastating impact on other kids and other families.”

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 Marshals 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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