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Justice News

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

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Repeat Yakima Drug Dealer Sentenced to Life Imprisonment

Spokane – Joseph H. Harrington, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Johnny Andres Asuncion, III, age 39, of Yakima, Washington, was sentenced today after having been convicted after a three-day jury trial in November, 2017, of Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or more of actual Methamphetamine. Senior United States District Judge Edward F. Shea sentenced Asuncion to a life term of imprisonment.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, in early 2017 while looking for Asuncion at a house in Selah, Washington, officers with the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force observed him carrying a black case to a vehicle and drive away. At the time, Asuncion was the subject of an outstanding warrant for violations of court supervision stemming from a 2006 drug conviction. After seeing Asuncion drive away, officers initiated a traffic stop and arrested him. Shortly thereafter, a certified narcotics detection canine alerted on Asuncion’s vehicle and officers applied for and obtained a warrant to search Asuncion’s vehicle for illegal drugs. During their search, officers found the black case they had observed Asuncion carrying before he was arrested. The black case contained approximately one kilogram of methamphetamine, Asuncion’s driver’s license, bank debit card, and other personal items.

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Shea observed that Asuncion had four prior felony drug convictions which qualified him for a mandatory term of life imprisonment and the sentence imposed was appropriate in this case. Asuncion’s criminal history includes prior prosecutions by the United States Attorney’s Office for being a previously convicted felon in possession of a firearm in 2001 and again in 2004, for distribution of methamphetamine in 2006, and for a misdemeanor possession of methamphetamine in 2015.

U. S. Attorney Harrington said, “The Court’s sentence will protect the community, punish Asuncion, and deter others who might consider committing similar crimes in the Eastern District of Washington. I commend the law enforcement officers who investigated 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 distribute drugs in this District.”

The investigation was conducted by Yakima Police Department; Yakima County Sheriff’s Office; Law Enforcement Against Drugs Task Force; Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The case was prosecuted by Benjamin D. Seal, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

Press Release Number: 
Updated June 1, 2018