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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 15, 2018

Pasco Drug Dealer Sentenced to Life Imprisonment

Spokane– Joseph H. Harrington, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Miles Barton Nichols, age 59, of Pasco, Washington, was sentenced after having been convicted after two separate jury trials in October, 2017, of one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or more of pure Methamphetamine, one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 Grams or more of pure Methamphetamine, one count of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, and one count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm. United States Senior District Court Judge Edward F. Shea sentenced Nichols to a life term of imprisonment on Nichols for his possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of pure methamphetamine conviction and a 405-month term of imprisonment for his Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 grams or more of methamphetamine conviction; a ten-year term of imprisonment for his felon in possession of a firearm conviction; and a mandatory-minimum five-year term of imprisonment for his possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime conviction, which sentence is to be served consecutively to all others, followed by an eight-year term of court supervision if Nichols is ever released from Federal prison.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, the Richland Police Department Street Crimes Unit developed information that Nichols was distributing methamphetamine from his room at a hotel in Richland, Washington. Officers obtained a search warrant for Nichols’ room, and seized two firearms, ammunition, over 5 grams of pure methamphetamine, drug ledgers, digital scales, and other drug paraphernalia. Officers were unable to find Nichols when the search warrant was executed.

Through further investigation, officers determined Nichols relocated to a second hotel in Kennewick, Washington, and initiated surveillance there. After receiving information that Nichols was distributing methamphetamine out of his second hotel room, officers contacted Nichols and he was arrested on outstanding warrants. Law enforcement agents obtained a search warrant for Nichols’ second hotel room and found over 50 grams of pure methamphetamine, drug ledgers, a digital scale, and $3,302 in cash.

When interviewed by law enforcement, Nichols admitted that he sold pounds of methamphetamine on a weekly basis from both hotel rooms. Nichols also admitted that the two firearms law enforcement seized at his first hotel room were his and the drug ledgers that were seized at both rooms enabled him to keep track of his drug sales and who owed him money.

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Shea observed that Nichols’ had at least two prior felony drug convictions (Nichols had six) and they qualified him for a mandatory term of life imprisonment on his possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of pure methamphetamine conviction and it was an appropriate sentence to impose in this case. Judge Shea also imposed a 405-month term of imprisonment on Nichols for his possession with intent to distribute 5 grams or more of pure methamphetamine conviction and a 10-year term of imprisonment for his felon in possession of a firearm conviction. Judge Shea imposed a 5-year mandatory-minimum term of imprisonment on Nichols for his possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, to run consecutive to the other sentences imposed, followed by an eight-year term of court supervision if Nichols is ever released from federal prison.

United States Attorney Harrington said, “The Court’s sentence will protect the community, punish Nichols, and deter others who might consider committing similar crimes in our community. I also commend the law enforcement officers who worked on this case. Their seamless partnership resulted in the successful outcome of this matter. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington is, and will continue to be, committed to prosecuting aggressively and seeking appropriate punishment for offenders who possess with intent to distribute drugs and illegally possess firearms in this District.”

Darek Pleasants, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Seattle Field Division, said, “The removal of Miles Nichols from the Tri-Cities area shows the significant and positive impact ATF makes on a community when we work shoulder to shoulder with our partners in law enforcement to send a strong message that career criminals and armed narcotics traffickers will not be tolerated.”

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Richland Police Department; United States Drug Enforcement Administration; Kennewick Police Department; and Washington State Patrol. The case was prosecuted by Meghan McCalla and Ian Garriques, Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington.

Press Release Number: 
4:16-CR-6033-EFS-1
Updated March 16, 2018