Leader of large Seattle-based drug trafficking organization sentenced to 12.5 years in prison
Amassed arsenal of firearms for gang-connected organization; laundered more than $750,000 at casinos
Seattle – A Seattle man trafficking large amounts of cocaine in the Seattle area as a leader of a violent street gang was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 150 months in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. MICHAEL SCOTT MORGAN, 43, was arrested June 6, 2018, as part of a joint federal and state law enforcement effort targeting violent drug trafficking organizations. At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones said trafficking drugs is not a victimless crime. “Every time you put drugs in the community, that could begin a lifetime of addiction, a lifetime prison sentence or overdose and death,” Judge Jones said.
“Not only did this defendant lead a drug dealing organization moving huge amounts of cocaine, he and his gang members are linked to violence throughout the region,” said U.S. Attorney Moran. “One look at his personal arsenal, which included assault weapons, high capacity magazines and even a weapon designed to pierce ballistic vests, and you know he needs to be off the streets for a significant period of time.”
According to records filed in the case, MORGAN is a leader of the East Union Street Hustlers street gang, a subset of the Black Gangster Disciples (BGDs). During various surveillance activities in 2017 and 2018, law enforcement identified MORGAN as the leader of a group trafficking large amounts of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs. The group was linked to violence, including shootings and an assault at a casino.
Much of the drug proceeds were laundered through area casinos, with MORGAN depositing more than $750,000 between January 2017 and January 2018.
On the date of the drug takedown, in June 2018, law enforcement seized six firearms at MORGAN’s residence: a loaded Glock pistol with loaded spare magazines: a Smith and Wesson “Bodyguard” .380 semiautomatic pistol; a .38 caliber revolver; a combat shotgun; a loaded AK-47-style assault pistol and a PS-90 PDW (personal defense weapon) which fires rounds designed to puncture body armor. Also at the residence, law enforcement seized 41 cell phones, $66,000 in cash, and jewelry valued at more than $265,000.
MORGAN has a lengthy criminal history, including firearms offenses as a juvenile and adult, drug offenses, forgery, eluding and assault.
On June 26, 2019, MORGAN pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, being a felon in possession of a firearm and money laundering.
In all, 42 defendants have pleaded guilty in connection with the drug trafficking conspiracy. The most significant sentences in the case to date range from five years in prison to 11.5 years in prison.
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, 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 case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Vince Lombardi, Erin Becker and Nicholas Manheim.
A sentencing exhibit with photos from the June 6, 2018 operation is attached to this release.