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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 27, 2015

Leaders of Meth and Heroin Distribution Ring Sentenced to Long Prison Terms

Organization Maintained Dangerous Lab for Converting Liquid Meth to Crystal

The father and two sons who led a Pierce County based drug trafficking ring that distributed methamphetamine and heroin were sentenced last week in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to long prison terms, announced Acting United States Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  LUIS HERNANDEZ, 60, of Tacoma was sentenced to ten years in prison.  His two sons, JUAN HERNANDEZ, 34, of Kent, Washington and JAIME HERNANDEZ, 29, of Tacoma were each sentenced to twelve years in prison.  At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton noted that heroin and meth destroys lives, saying this family group had “worked mightily to destroy other families.”

            “Through the course of this case, law enforcement took more than 66 pounds of crystal meth and more than two and a half pounds of heroin off the streets,” said Acting United States Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  “The defendants prepared these drugs for distribution in a lab that was fed by the misery and suffering of the addicted and their communities.  DEA and their state and local partners should be commended for their work on this case.”

            The Drug Enforcement Administration led this wire-tap investigation which uncovered a conversion lab in Spanaway, Washington where liquid meth was processed into highly addictive crystal methamphetamine.  The conversion of liquid meth to crystal meth is a potentially dangerous process involving highly flammable chemicals such as acetone.  In all fifteen people were charged in connection with this drug distribution ring, and all have entered guilty pleas.

            “The leaders of this trafficking group contributed to the methamphetamine and heroin addiction in the Pacific NW,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Douglas James.  “It is clear that the members of this group had no regard for the safety of the community as they operated a methamphetamine conversion lab involving extremely dangerous and flammable chemicals.  Methamphetamine and heroin continue to be the top drug threats in the region and DEA will continue to work with our federal, state and local counterparts to address these threats.” 

            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 DEA Tacoma in conjunction with Tahoma Narcotics Enforcement Team, Lakewood Police Department, West Sound Narcotics Team, and Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.

            The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lisca Borichewski, Brian Werner and Marci Ellsworth.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated April 27, 2015