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The leader of a Whatcom County based drug distribution ring, who corrupted a state prison worker, pleaded guilty to gun and drug crimes, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. TODD HAMILTON, 35, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The drug crime carries a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison, and the firearm charge carries a mandatory minimum five years in prison to run consecutive to any sentence imposed on the drug crime. Prosecutors and HAMILTON’s attorneys have agreed to recommend a sentence between 16 and 21 years in prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour on June 11, 2013.
According to the plea agreement and other records filed in the case, upon his January 2011 release from Washington State prison, HAMILTON began running a heroin and methamphetamine distribution ring operating in Whatcom County. During a court authorized wiretap investigation, law enforcement learned HAMILTON purchased significant quantities of methamphetamine and heroin from his Olympia, Washington based supplier and had it transported to the Bellingham area for further distribution. When HAMILTON’s home was searched in December 2011, investigators found meth and heroin, drug ledgers and packaging Materials. They also found a loaded Cobra Enterprise, Inc. .45 caliber pistol.
During the investigation, DEA agents learned that HAMILTON purchased several pounds of methamphetamine and heroin each week, spending tens of thousands of dollars to redistribute the drugs in his community for profit. The investigation also revealed that HAMILTON had recruited an employee of the Department of Corrections (DOC) to assist him with his drug trafficking. The employee, also charged and convicted in this conspiracy, used his access to a Department of Corrections computer to determine whether law enforcement was investigating HAMILTON. He no longer works for the DOC.
In all, 14 defendants have pleaded guilty in this conspiracy. Those who have been sentenced so far have received five to eight 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, and was investigated and prosecuted pursuant to the United States Attorney’s Northwest Washington Hot Spot Initiative. The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington State Department of Corrections, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), and the Northwest Regional Drug Task Force.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jill Otake and Roger Rogoff.