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Press Release

Pasco Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Drug Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Washington

Spokane, Washington – United States District Judge Thomas O. Rice sentenced Tustuji Matu Wakauwn, 43, of Pasco, Washington, to 15 years in federal prison for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm by a felon. Judge Rice also ordered Wakauwn to serve ten years of supervised release following his release from prison. Wakauwn pleaded guilty to the offenses on June 8, 2022. He has been in federal custody since his arrest on October 7, 2021.

According to information presented at Mirabal’s change of plea and sentencing hearings, on October 7, 2021, members of a DEA task force served a search warrant on a residence located on 10th Avenue in Spokane. Wakauwn arrived at the residence during the execution of the warrant. During a pat-down search, officers located a loaded 9mm handgun in a bag carried by Wakauwn. Wakauwn was prohibited from possessing firearms based on a prior federal conviction for drug trafficking and was still on federal supervision at the time. A later search of his bag revealed that it contained 420 grams of pure methamphetamine along with fentanyl, cocaine, and other evidence of drug trafficking. 

Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, praised the investigative team for their quick work in disarming Wakauwn and interdicting the methamphetamine and other substances that he was preparing to deliver.  U.S. Attorney Waldref stated, “Our U.S. Probation Office offers significant rehabilitative services to person while on supervised release and these services play an important role in protecting our communities and in restoring persons convicted of federal crimes to productive roles in society.”  She continued, “Because of this, it is especially important to deter the commission of serious crimes by people on federal supervision. The sentence imposed in this case, which is a 15-year mandatory minimum penalty, sends a strong message about the importance of enforcing serious violations of law committed by persons while on supervision.”

This case was investigated by Spokane Resident Office of the DEA, with significant assistance from the DEA Coeur d’Alene Post of Duty and the Idaho State Police. The case was prosecuted by Timothy J. Ohms Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington.



Richard Barker 
First Assistant United States Attorney and Public Affairs Officer
509-353-2767 or

Updated June 22, 2023

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