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MEXICAN NATIONAL SENTENCED TO NINE YEARS IN PRISON FOR DEALING THREE POUNDS OF METHAMPHETAMINE
Defendant Used Juvenile to Assist in Drug Deal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 17, 2008

BERNARDO SANTOS-MORALEZ, 31, of Federal Way, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to nine years in prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine. SANTOS-MORALEZ is a Mexican National who likely will be deported following his prison term. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said methamphetamine “is a crucial and dangerous drug that has a terrible impact on our community.”

According to records filed in the case, SANTOS-MORALEZ was identified by a confidential informant as a methamphetamine dealer in the south King County area. The Drug Enforcement Administration working through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Transportation Group task force arranged for the informant to purchase three pounds of methamphetamine from SANTOS-MORALEZ. On January 15, 2008, the confidential informant and SANTOS-MORALEZ met in the parking lot of the Red Robin restaurant in Federal Way. After the confidential informant got into SANTOS-MORALEZ’s vehicle and provided some $60,000 in buy money, SANTOS-MORALEZ sent a juvenile in the car to another vehicle in the parking lot to retrieve the meth. Once the confidential informant had reviewed the shoe box containing the meth, task force officers moved in and made the arrests. At the time SANTOS-MORALEZ had more than $17,000 cash in his pockets.

On March 27, 2008, SANTOS-MORALEZ was indicted by the grand jury for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine. On June 25, 2008, SANTOS-MORALEZ pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine.

In asking for a lengthy sentence Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Diggs noted the significant quantity of drugs, and the use of a juvenile in the crime saying in his sentencing memo that meth is “one of the most dangerous narcotics on the street. The quantity and value of the illegal drugs were not insignificant; the methamphetamine was worth more than $60,000 in the drug deal that the defendant intended to facilitate. Its street value was undoubtably at least twice that. The defendant recruited two individuals to assist him in making the drug deal, one of whom was a juvenile. The defendant’s greed preyed upon his younger, more naive, partner.”

The case was investigated by the DEA’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Transportation Group Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Diggs.

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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