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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 22, 2019

Repeat Offender with 30 Year Criminal History Sentenced to Prison for Drug Dealing on Kent’s East Hill

Defendant Returned to Drug Dealing Just Months after Finishing Court Supervision on Prior Federal Conviction

          A one-time Crips gang member with prior convictions for assault, robbery, and drug dealing was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 70 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. ANTHONY COLBERT, 49, of Seattle pleaded guilty in September 2018, following his arrest as part of “Operation East Watch.”  The law enforcement initiative, led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), focused on drug dealing and gang violence in Kent’s East Hill neighborhood.  COLBERT was fresh from a federal prison sentence for drug dealing when he was identified as a key drug conspirator at the Highland Green apartments.  COLBERT tried to hide behind others as he distributed drugs in the community.  At the sentencing hearing Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said COLBERT had “an extensive criminal history with very serious offenses – made even worse by the fact that when he committed these crimes he had just gotten off of supervised release.”

            “This defendant has already served a total of 25 years in prison for state and federal offenses and now is adding to that unenviable record,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran.  “The East Watch initiative targeted offenders causing crime and violence in an area that saw 29 shootings in 2018.  By taking these habitual offenders out of our communities we hope to make our neighborhoods safer for all of us.”

          “Mr. Colbert’s willingness in conspiring to distribute this deadly drug placed the community at great risk,” said ATF Seattle Field Special Agent in Charge Darek Pleasants.  “His actions show contempt for law and order and this sentence is justified by the danger he poses to society.”

            According to records filed in the case, just four months after being terminated from supervised release for a 2014 federal conviction for distributing oxycodone and Percocet, COLBERT came to the attention of law enforcement.  COLBERT was identified as the source of supply of methamphetamine for co-defendant Allen Betts III, who distributed the drugs out of his Highland Green apartment complex.  Law enforcement observed COLBERT bring the drugs to Betts on multiple occasions, before Betts sold the drugs to an undercover agent and a person working with law enforcement.

            COLBERT has criminal history dating back to the 1980’s for drug and gun crimes.  In 1991, he was sentenced to 65 months in prison for firing shots in a Seattle neighborhood in a turf dispute with another gang.  In 1995, within a year of his release from prison he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for robbery.  In 2006, while still on state supervision he illegally possessed a firearm and was sentenced to an additional 70 months in prison. His federal conviction followed with a three-year federal sentence.

           All eight defendants in Operation East Watch have pleaded guilty.  Two of the eight await sentencing later this year.

  • Mario Parra-Cetino, 28 of Kent, Washington was sentenced earlier this month to 66 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute heroin and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
  • Anthony Ripley, 46, of Tacoma, was sentenced in November 2018, to ten years in prison for drug and gun possession crimes. 
  • Eddie Tarik Musa Bell, Jr was sentenced in November to four years in prison for distribution of methamphetamine and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
  • Devon Parramore, 50 of Kent, was sentenced last month to 33 months in prison for distribution of methamphetamine.
  • Allen Betts III, 40, of Kent, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and unlawful possession of a firearm and was sentenced last month to four years in prison.
  • Neal Stringer, 46, of Kent and Des Moines, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is scheduled for sentencing in April 2019.
  • Kenyon Taylor, 39, of Federal Way, pleaded guilty in December 2018, to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He is scheduled for sentencing in March 2019.

          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 operation was led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’ (ATF) Puget Sound Regional Crime Gun Task Force and the Kent Police Department.  The task force contains agents and officers from King County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Department of Corrections, Washington State Patrol, Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Marshals Service, Seattle Police Department, and Valley Narcotics Enforcement Team.

            The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amy Jaquette and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Manca. Ms. Manca is a Senior Deputy King County Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute gun crimes in federal court.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Contact: 
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Public Affairs Officer Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.
Updated February 22, 2019