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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 22, 2015

Armed Snohomish County Drug Dealer Sentenced to Long Prison Term for Drug Trafficking

Led Police on a Chase -- Stopped with Drugs and Gun in Car

            An Everett resident with prior federal drug felony convictions, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to more than 14 years in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  JOSEPH R. KALAC was convicted at his September 2014 trial of three counts of possessing a controlled substance with intent to distribute, one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and one count each of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.  KALAC later pleaded guilty to an additional charge of failing to surrender to serve a prison sentence as ordered by the court.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones noted KALAC has an “extensive criminal history and a poor track record on supervision,” and added KALAC is at a “high risk to reoffend.”

            According to records filed in the case, KALAC was spotted in a car in an area known for drug activity.  When a Snohomish County deputy approached, KALAC sped away.  He lost control of his car, crashed it, and ran away from pursuing officers.  KALAC was located and arrested.  After obtaining a warrant, officers searched the crashed car and found heroin, methamphetamine, crack cocaine, and a loaded semi-automatic pistol in a backpack under the driver’s seat.  The backpack also had a scale, packaging material and a drug ledger.  At the time KALAC was already on federal supervision for a 2009 drug distribution conviction.

            In asking the court for a significant sentence, prosecutors noted that KALAC created a significant danger in the community.  “As a felon, KALAC had no right to have a gun….But he nonetheless decided that his interests were better served by arming himself.  The drug trade is a dangerous business….. By introducing a gun into an already volatile mix, KALAC tremendously ratcheted up the danger he and those around him faced.”

            KALAC’s sentence calls for him to serve 96 months (eight years) on the drug charges and for being a felon in possession of a firearm.  An additional 60 months (5 years) sentence must run consecutive for using a firearm in a drug trafficking offense.  The additional one year in prison is for failing to surrender.

            The case was investigated by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mike Dion, Matthew Hampton and Grady Leupold.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated May 22, 2015