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Press Release

Seattle man sentenced to 11 years in prison for distribution of drugs and possession of firearms

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
While released pending trial, the defendant hired a coconspirator to burn a car in retaliation

Seattle – A West Seattle-man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court to 11 years in prison and 4 years of supervised release for four federal felonies involving drug distribution, firearms, and obstructing justice, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. David Rosario, 30, was arrested in August 2020 after selling drugs and firearms to an undercover agent. He was arrested again five months later for additional crimes while released on bond. At the sentencing hearing, Judge Richard A. Jones noted that in all his years on the bench, it was the first time he had seen a defendant conspire to intimidate a witness by setting the witness’ car on fire.  “That fire could have carried over to the apartment and injured and killed people… People who had no connection to this offense,” Judge Jones said.

burned car
Car burned to intimidate witness

“Even after his arrest on federal charges, Mr. Rosario continued to endanger the community with guns and drugs and ultimately the fire he used to intimidate a witness,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “We are unwavering in our commitment to protect witnesses and those who assist in uncovering criminal conduct. Mr. Rosario’s demonstrated contempt for the rule of law requires a significant sanction.” 

Rosario first came to the attention of law enforcement when an informant told investigators that Rosario was known for selling large quantities of drugs and stolen firearms. In late May, an undercover agent purchased heroin, methamphetamine, and a .22 caliber pistol from Rosario. Over the next two months, Rosario sold the agent more meth and three more guns. On August 11, 2020, Rosario was arrested for gun and drug crimes.

Rosario was released pending trial on the original counts.  After Rosario’s release, law enforcement learned Rosario was attempting to retaliate against the person who had provided information about him to law enforcement. In fact, Rosario paid one of his drug customers to set fire to the informant’s car.

On an early morning in November 2020, Rosario’s associate threw a Molotov cocktail into the informant’s car while it was parked in a carport underneath an apartment complex. Fortunately, one of the residents smelled burning rubber and called 911, so the King County Fire Department was able to put out the fire before anyone was injured. An arson investigator from the King County Sheriff’s Office estimated that the fire would have spread to the apartments and possibly killed residents if it had not been discovered so quickly.

As law enforcement investigated the arson, they also discovered Rosario’s ongoing criminal conduct.  He violated his bond by changing his residence, possessing firearms, and selling drugs such as methamphetamine and fentanyl.  The investigation revealed that Rosario even sold fentanyl while attending required online drug treatment classes.  When Rosario was rearrested in January 2021, his phone contained numerous photos showing him with guns, cash, fentanyl pills and a photo of the burned-out car.

On April 21, 2022, Rosario pleaded guilty to carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, distribution of methamphetamine, unlawful receipt of a firearm, and conspiracy to use fire to obstruct justice.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the King County Sheriff’s Office, with help from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jessica M. Manca.

Drugs, money and guns



Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated August 5, 2022

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