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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 26, 2019

Co-Leader of Large Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced to more than 11 Years in Prison

Defendant Persisted with Drug Distribution Activities Even After Two Traffic Stops with Drug Seizures

          A 38-year-old Seattle man who persisted in trafficking methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine, despite repeated run-ins with law enforcement, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 11 years in prison and 5 years of supervised release, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran.  MICHAEL LAVON DAVIS pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  DAVIS was arrested in June 2018 as part of a large drug trafficking conspiracy that spanned five western Washington counties.  DAVIS was identified as a co-leader of the group, recruiting others to transport heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine from California to Washington and Illinois.  At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones said this was “a very large drug trafficking organization… you were a critical player in the organization… one of several key people who kept this organization afloat.”

            “This defendant persisted in bringing cocaine and heroin into our community and recruited others to his life of crime,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran.  “In this investigation more than 40 defendants were taken off the streets and are now paying the price for the poison they spread in our communities.  We owe a debt of gratitude to the relentless work of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers who brought an end to this criminal conspiracy.”

            The drug ring was targeted by DEA, FBI, and the Seattle Police Department as part of an effort to combat rising crime in South King and North Pierce County.  According to records filed in the case, conspirators trafficked cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, oxycodone, illegal marijuana, and fentanyl.  Associates of some of the traffickers were shot and some killed in various shooting incidents in both Seattle and South King County.  On the wiretap, law enforcement heard conspirators talk about various shootings after they occurred.  Following an 18-month wiretap investigation, law enforcement raided more than 50 locations, seizing 12 pounds of heroin, more than 2 kilos of cocaine, a pound of methamphetamine, 124 pounds of marijuana, 41 firearms, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.

            This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  DOJ reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime.

          This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved.  This investigation was led by the Seattle Police Department Gang and Narcotics Units, the FBI Seattle Safe Streets Task Force, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  Other agencies providing investigative assistance include ATF, USMS, and the U.S Bureau of Prisons.

          The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Vince Lombardi, Erin Becker, and Nicholas Manheim.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Contact: 
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.
Updated July 26, 2019