Pierce County based drug trafficking organization indicted for distributing cocaine, fentanyl, and marijuana
A Burien, Washington felon was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to seven years in prison and five years of supervised release for three drug and firearm related crimes, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. JERMAINE HICKLES, 46, pleaded guilty in May 2018 to being a felon in possession of firearms, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. When King County Sheriff’s Detectives executed a court-authorized search warrant on HICKLES’ Burien apartment and storage locker, they found 17 firearms, most of them stolen, and nearly two pounds of methamphetamine. HICKLES is prohibited from possessing firearms due to prior felony convictions. At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said HICKLES, “was in possession of one of the largest collections of dangerous weapons that I’ve seen in my three or four decades on the bench.”
“This defendant was prosecuted because he was a convicted felon who possessed 17 firearms, most of them stolen, all while dealing dangerous drugs, said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. The combination of illegal drugs and guns is a ticking time bomb that risks the lives of real people and the safety of our communities. I commend the King County Sheriff’s Office and ATF’s Violent Crime Task Force for their diligent work to ensure this defendant is held to account and can no longer sow harm in our neighborhoods.”
According to records filed in the case, in summer 2017, a person working with law enforcement purchased heroin from HICKLES on multiple occasions. On September 30, 2017, officers served a search warrant on HICKLES two-bedroom apartment. One bedroom was filled with more than 200 bottles of stolen liquor – many with the store security tags still attached. In the apartment were 16 firearms – eight of them were loaded and hidden under the mattress in HICKLES main bedroom and one was loaded and in the drawer of the bedside table. Officers also found nearly $50,000 in cash and approximately two pounds of methamphetamine. In a storage unit HICKLES rented, they found a 17th firearm. Evidence from the apartment and from HICKLES’ electronic devices demonstrate he was trading drugs for cash and a variety of stolen goods, including firearms and alcohol.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in a America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.
The case was investigated by the King County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from members of ATF’s Violent Crime Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Manca. Ms. Manca is a Senior King County Deputy Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute firearms cases in federal court.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Public Affairs Officer Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.