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Press Release

Selah Drug Distributor Who Sold Pound Quantities of Methamphetamine and Fentanyl in the Yakima Valley Sentenced to More than Eleven Years in Federal Prison

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

Yakima, Washington - Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced today that Ronald Lee Ralston Jr.,36, of Selah, Washington, was sentenced after pleading guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine. United States District Judge Mary K. Dimke imposed a sentence of 138 months imprisonment to be followed by five years of supervised release.

According to court documents and information disclosed at sentencing, the FBI developed information that Ralston and another man, Jessie Lee Johnson, were distributing large amount of methamphetamine and fentanyl from Ralston’s home in Selah, Washington.

FBI Task Force members arranged for a confidential informant to set up a controlled buy at Ralston’s house. On May 4, 2023, the informant arrived at the home and tried to purchase methamphetamine from Ralston. However, Ralston said the methamphetamine he had on hand was spoken for and not for sale. While no sale took place that day, Ralston and Johnson were captured on video discussing future drug sales.

On May 16, the informant returned to Ralston’s home and purchased one pound of methamphetamine and 100 pills of fentanyl from Ralston and Johnson for $2,000. Ralston also told the informant he could get any amount of methamphetamine and fentanyl with 24-hour notice.

A search warrant was executed on June 7, 2023 at Ralston’s residence. In Ralston’s trailer, located on the property, law enforcement seized 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine, other controlled substances, and two firearms. In the main residence, law enforcement officers seized another firearm and an additional half-pound of methamphetamine.

Ralston and Johnston pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine on November 28, 2023. Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced on March 12, 2024. 

“The FBI’s Drug Task Force identified Mr. Ralston and Mr. Johnson as major sources of dangerous drugs in Eastern Washington. I’m grateful for the quick work of Task Force Officers to shut down this drug operation,” said U.S. Attorney Waldref. “My office is committed to fighting the drug epidemic by aggressively stopping the supply of illegal narcotics in our communities.”

“It is heartbreaking to see how these poisons destroy lives, relationships, and communities in Washington and across the United States," said Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Seattle field office. “The sentence in this case represents the significance the FBI, our federal, state, and local partners, and prosecutors place on saving lives through the removal of illicit drugs from our communities and holding those accountable who are responsible for their distribution. We are fighting back every time to take drugs off the streets.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, Customs and Border Protection and the Selah Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Swenson.


Robert Curry 

Public Affairs Specialist 

Updated February 28, 2024

Drug Trafficking