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RENTON MAN SENTENCED TO SIX YEARS IN PRISON FOR DISTRIBUTING RED PHOSPHORUS TO MAKE METHAMPHETAMINE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2009

JOON SUR RHEE, 43, of Renton, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, to six years in prison, to be followed by three years supervised release, for Distributing Red Phosphorus For Purposes of Manufacturing Methamphetamine in connection with a drug trafficking investigation in southwest Washington. RHEE was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton.

According to court records, during February 2008, RHEE joined with Richard Ciarlo, 45, of southwest Washington, in an unlawful scheme to sell red phosphorus to others in Kelso, Washington. Red phosphorus is a highly regulated chemical commonly used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. RHEE delivered to Ciarlo five pounds of red phosphorus which RHEE and Ciarlo were intending be sold to a methamphetamine cook. Law enforcement intercepted and seized the red phosphorus in Kelso, Washington, and arrested Ciarlo and RHEE. A follow-up search of RHEE’s residence in Renton disclosed additional quantities of red phosphorus which were seized.

Ciarlo was previously sentenced to five years imprisonment.

This case is part of a continuing Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation focused upon the unlawful trafficking in pharmaceutical controlled chemicals and substances. The case was investigated by the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Drug Task Force, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ronald J. Friedman.

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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