HIGH-LEVEL METH DEALER SENTENCED TO 18 YEARS IN PRISON
Lakewood man had 6.5 kilos of pure meth, over $150,000 cash, and three handguns
TOMAS ZEA REYES, 40, of Lakewood, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 18 years in prison and five years of supervised release for Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute.
According to records filed in the case, REYES and his wife, ANTONIA CAZARES, operated their methamphetamine trafficking business out of a grocery store in Lakewood. REYES and CAZARES cut, stored, and packaged methamphetamine in the store. REYES and CAZARES were arrested on December 29, 2005, after law enforcement executed search warrants at the store and their home. From safes in the back of the store, officers seized 6.5 kilograms of pure methamphetamine, $150,000 in cash, and jewelry. The search of the home yielded three loaded pistols, a bulletproof vest, over $7,000 in cash, drugs, and drug packaging equipment. One of the loaded guns was hidden under the cushion of a couch in the living room.
At the time of the arrests, the couple had three children, ages 13, 12, and 2. Child Protective Services took custody of the children and ran toxicology tests. The test results showed that all three children had methamphetamine in their systems.
REYES has a prior state conviction for drug trafficking.
In asking for a lengthy sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Michael Dion stated that REYES showed “total disregard” for his children by leaving guns in the house and allowing them to be exposed to methamphetamine: “Nobody knows for certain how the drugs got in their systems. Maybe it was deliberate, or maybe it happened because REYES just did not care about their safety. Either way, REYES has poisoned the children, and they are victims of his crime – just like the addicts who buy his product on the street.”
In sentencing REYES to 18 years – almost twice the ten year statutory minimum sentence – U. S. District Judge Franklin D. Burgess emphasized the large amount of drugs, the presence of the firearms, and the danger to the children.
ANTONIA CAZARES was previously sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Lakewood Police Department.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Dion.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office at (206) 553-4110.