News and Press Releases

80-Year-old Has Long History of Smuggling Drugs Through Washington to Alaska

December 17, 2010

Tacoma - A repeat offender who once again told the court he “did not want to die in prison,” was sentenced today to a ten year prison term for conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine. RONALD HALL, 80, of Belleflower, California, was arrested December 31, 2009, after attempting to ship 23 pounds of methamphetamine in a secret compartment of a car destined for Alaska. The drugs were discovered at the Port of Tacoma and were replaced with a substance that appeared to be methamphetamine. HALL and his co-conspirators claimed the car and were inspecting the substitute meth when they were arrested by law enforcement authorities in Alaska. U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton imposed the sentence saying “the pity jar was emptied last time Mr. Hall.”

According to records filed in the case, on March 29, 2009, investigators with DEA in Anchorage seized $12,000 from a vehicle being sent from Anchorage to Seattle. The investigation revealed that the vehicle, a 1990 Chevrolet pickup truck, had been shipped back and forth from Anchorage to Seattle on numerous occasions, despite having more than 300,000 miles on its odometer. The person shipping the vehicle was identified as RONALD HALL, who had prior drug trafficking convictions. Investigators continued to follow the vehicle in Seattle, and the vehicle drove south to Oregon and ended up in California. Investigators then watched HALL as he made round trips into Mexico for three days in a row - December 10, 11, and 12. HALL has a son in Mexico who is a fugitive on prior drug distribution charges.

Surveillance indicated that HALL and a co-conspirator drove a different car, a 2005 Ford Explorer from California to Fife, Washington, where they put the vehicle on a barge bound for Alaska. DEA Agents in SeaTac, Washington executed a search warrant on the vehicle and found approximately 23 pounds of methamphetamine in a trap door underneath the rear seat of the Explorer. Further searches revealed HALL had more than $800,000 in a storage locker in California, which was forfeited to the government as the proceeds of his drug activity.

In the late 1990's RONALD HALL was convicted of methamphetamine trafficking and sentenced to five years in prison. At the time he told the court he had been diagnosed with cancer and had only a year to live. He completed his prison term, and returned to drug dealing when released.

In her sentencing memo, Assistant United States Attorney Susan Roe wrote to the court:

“At his initial appearance in this case, Mr. Hall announced that he just didn’t want to die in prison. It was a line he used in 1997. It is unfortunate that Mr. Hall did not choose a law-abiding life upon his release in 2002.... There are few defendants before this court whose criminal history contains as wide a variety of drugs, as substantial amounts of drugs, and as large sums of cash as this defendant’s history contains. “

The investigation was conducted by the DEA in Seattle, Washington and Anchorage, Alaska and Port of Seattle Police Department. The Anchorage Police Department's Vice and Special Assignments Unit, the Alaska State Troopers Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Enforcement and Major Offender's Unit, the FBI and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, the Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division assisted in the investigation. The cases are being handled by the United States Attorney's Offices for the District of Alaska and the Western District of Washington.

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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