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VANCOUVER MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO DISTRIBUTING METHAMPHETAMINE
“Surenos” Gang Member Sold Meth to Confidential Informant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2009

TONY HERNANDEZ, 32, of Vancouver, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to two counts of Distribution of Methamphetamine. According to court documents, HERNANDEZ is a member of the Surenos, a violent street gang that originated in Southern California. HERNANDEZ has a lengthy criminal history in California and Washington and faces a mandatory minimum five years, and up to 40 years in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle on December 7, 2009. Under the terms of the plea agreement, each side will recommend a prison term of between seven and eight years in prison. However, Judge Settle is not bound by the recommendations.

According to records filed in the case, HERNANDEZ was well known to members of the Safe Streets Task Force in Vancouver, Washington. In October 2008, and February 2009, a confidential informant purchased methamphetamine from HERNANDEZ in the parking lot of a Fred Meyer Store on Southeast Mill Plain Blvd. Both sales took place in the middle of the day and were witnessed by undercover officers with the anti-gang task force. When HERNANDEZ’ Vancouver residence was searched, officers found ammunition for a .357 caliber handgun. HERNANDEZ is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition because of his prior convictions.

HERNANDEZ has prior convictions for Robbery (1997), drug trafficking (1999) and domestic violence (2005) in California. In Washington State he has prior convictions for Domestic Violence (2007), Violating a protective order (2007) and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm (2007).

HERNANDEZ was indicted by the grand jury on the current charges on April 22, 2009.

The case was investigated by the Safe Streets Task Force made up of agents and officers of the Vancouver Police Department, the FBI, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Department of Corrections.

The case is being 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 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.

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