Skip to main content
Press Release

Drug Dealer Illegally Armed with Nine Firearms Sentenced to Twelve Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Possessed Deadly Fentanyl, Heroin, and Methamphetamine – Customer Died from Fentanyl Poisoning

          A former bank robber who armed himself with nine firearms to protect his extensive drug dealing business, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to twelve years in prison for three federal felonies, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran.  KEVIN TA, 31, of Des Moines, Washington, came to the attention of law enforcement in May 2018, when two Burien brothers overdosed on fentanyl within hours of each other.  One brother did not survive.  Electronic communications between TA and one victim suggested TA supplied the drugs.  U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour imposed five years of supervised release to follow the prison term.

            “This defendant continued to deal his poison even after being sent a photo of one of his customers in a hospital bed on life support,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran.  “This sentence  protects the community from someone who illegally stockpiled firearms, was blinded by greed, and showed callous disregard for those whose addiction increased his profits.” 

            According to records filed in the case, following the overdose death, the King County Sheriff’s Office and the Bellevue Police Department moved quickly to build a case against TA and obtain search warrants.  When law enforcement searched his residence and car on June 21, 2018, they seized seven firearms from his bedroom closet and found significant quantities of methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl pills.  In TA’s car they found two additional firearms and additional drugs.

            When investigators reviewed TA’s electronic messages and social media posts, they found him bragging about the money he made dealing fentanyl.  The mother of the overdose victim sent TA information and pictures via text about her son’s medical condition, and death from the overdose.  TA did not react or slow his dealing when confronted by the fact that a customer had died.  The brothers had not intended to purchase fentanyl, and did not know it was in the drugs they consumed.  

            TA was prohibited from possessing any firearms after serving a 31-month state prison sentence for bank robbery.  TA pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of firearms, possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.  The third count carries a mandatory 5 year sentence to run consecutive to any other sentence.

          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.  The Department of Justice has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority.   In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, DOJ leadership 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 brought through the coordinated investigation and prosecution of the King County Sheriff’s Office, Bellevue Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

          The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Manca.


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated August 20, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods