The leader of a dangerous drug distribution ring, who continued to run his drug operation after fleeing to Mexico, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. As early as 2010, JESUS ENRIQUE PALOMERA, 38, conspired with others to distribute methamphetamine in the Tacoma area. PALOMERA not only sold drugs, he sold guns as well – arranging the sale of nine guns in one day to an undercover law enforcement agent. PALOMERA faces a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison and up to life in prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan on February 9, 2018.
According to records filed in the case, following the gun sales in November 2011, PALOMERA fled to Mexico after some of his coconspirators were arrested. PALOMERA continued to run his drug operation from across the border, sometimes communicating with customers in Pierce County via Facebook. PALOMERA continued to be involved in drug distribution in 2014 and 2015. In the plea agreement, PALOMERA admits that more than 50 kilos of methamphetamine were transported at his direction from Mexico and up through California and Oregon to Washington. Highlighting the danger of the meth ring, one of the co-conspirators is missing and presumed dead after a load was seized by law enforcement.
PALOMERA was taken into custody in Mexico in June 2015 and was extradited to the United States in July 2016.
PALOMERA’s coconspirator, James E. Roberts, was sentenced to ten years in prison in December 2015. Roberts owned an auto body shop in Lakewood, Washington that was central to the drug trafficking ring.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), with assistance from the Lakewood Police Department, the Washington Department of Corrections, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Siskiyou County Drug Task Force, the California Highway Patrol, the Oregon State Police, and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Dion and Amy Jaquette.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Public Affairs Officer Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.