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Press Release

Richland Man With Extensive Criminal History Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison After Shooting A Person and Conspiring To Distribute Fentanyl-Laced Pills in Tri-Cities

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

Richland, Washington – On March 8, 2023, Senior United States District Judge Edward F. Shea
sentenced Jonathan Scott Ard, 30, of Richland, Washington, to 12 years in in federal prison after
his guilty plea to federal fentanyl and gun charges. Ard will also serve 5 years of federal
supervision after he is released from custody. During the sentencing hearing, Judge Shea noted
Ard’s long criminal record, which began when he was 14 years old and includes a significant
history of crimes of violence. Judge Shea also expressed concern about the fact that Ard was
under the supervision of the Washington Department of Corrections when he engaged in his
current misconduct.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, the investigation began in
December 2020 when Ard was in his car smoking a fentanyl-laced pill and in possession of
distribution quantities of fentanyl and a loaded firearm. Another person approached Ard’s car,
and Ard – acting in what a different court concluded was self-defense – got out of his car and
shot the person in the leg. Ard then retrieved drug-related items from the car and went into his
house; he neither alerted authorities nor sought emergency aid for the person he had just shot.
To the contrary, he soon came back outside to retrieve more items from his car, and simply
walked past his victim, who was laying on the ground after being shot by Ard. Ard then
barricaded himself inside from law enforcement before eventually surrendering. When law
enforcement officers searched Ard’s home, they recovered approximately 500 fentanyl-laced
pills and the gun Ard had used in the shooting.

Ard went into custody on state charges but continued to conspire with other people to distribute
fentanyl from inside the jail. He was released from state custody and was arrested again after
fleeing from law enforcement at a motel in Richland in March 2021. When he was arrested the
second time, Ard had a loaded gun with him, along with another approximately 400 fentanyl-laced
pills, a distribution quantity of heroin, and drug paraphernalia. Law enforcement officers
searched Ard’s cellular telephone and recovered additional drug-related evidence and numerous
pictures and social media posts by Ard idealizing his criminal lifestyle.

Fentanyl is the new face of the opioid epidemic and the leading cause of overdose deaths across
the country. According to DEA, in 2021 there was enough lethal fentanyl seized to kill every
single American in the United States. Based on DEA lab confirmations, 6 in every 10 fentanyl
laced pills contain a lethal dose. In Benton and Franklin Counties, the rate of overdose deaths                                                                    increased to a high of 23 people per 100,000 in a year in 2020, or about 70 deaths in 2020, an
increase in a year of more than 100%. Department of Health records from Spokane County
show over an 186% increase in fentanyl-related overdoses between 2020 and 2021 and a 1233%
increase in fentanyl-related overdoses in the four-year period between 2017 and 2021.
Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington,
commended the joint efforts of law enforcement: “Drug distribution and gun violence are a
scourge in the Tri-Cities and elsewhere. It is particularly disheartening that an offender with an
extensive criminal history – who had already shot another person while in possession of
distribution quantities of fentanyl – was released pending trial, only to continue possessing
loaded firearms and additional fentanyl for distribution.”

U.S. Attorney Waldref continued: “I commend the collaborative efforts of the Richland Police
Department, DEA, FBI, and LEAD Task Force, who work together seamlessly to keep Eastern
Washington safe and strong. The people in this community are also incredibly fortunate to be
represented in federal court by Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Van Marter, who
spearheads federal drug prosecutions in the Tri-Cities and elsewhere.”

“By leveraging our law enforcement partnerships, we were able to remove Mr. Ard from the
community where he has repeatedly distributed deadly fentanyl-laced pills and presented
significant danger to the community through his violent actions,” said Jacob D. Galvan, Acting
Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division.

“Even incarceration did not deter Mr. Ard from conspiring to distribute fentanyl and continue a
lifestyle of lawlessness,” said Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle
field office. “Additionally, he’s an offender who has proven his willingness to use violence. For
the safety of our community, I hope significant time in federal prison will prevent him from
conducting other criminal activities and send a message about the commitment of the law
enforcement community to fight violence. This case highlights the work of the FBI and our
partners with the US Attorney’s Office, DEA, and Richland Police Department to stop the spread
of fentanyl.”

This case was investigated by the Richland Police Department, the Drug Enforcement
Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Law Enforcement Against Drugs
Task Force in the Tri-Cities. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney
Stephanie Van Marter.



Richard Barker 
Assistant United States Attorney and Public Affairs Officer
509-835-6311 or

Updated March 8, 2023

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