Seattle man who sold large quantities of fentanyl while out on bail for state drug charge sentenced to prison
Seattle – A 38-year-old Seattle man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court to 84-months in prison for distributing fentanyl, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. Ricky Chavez Hernandez was out on bail from a King County Superior Court drug case when he repeatedly sold large amounts of fentanyl to someone working with law enforcement. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour imposed 3 years of supervised release to follow the prison term.
According to records filed in the case, in early April 2021, a confidential source working with federal agents set up a drug buy from an associate of Hernandez. At the site of the deal, Hernandez sold a quarter pound of powder fentanyl for $8,500. Hernandez also offered to sell a pill press and fentanyl pills. Analysis of the fentanyl Hernandez sold showed in contained not only fentanyl, but an animal tranquilizer. The next month, Hernandez was again selling fentanyl to the confidential informant. Finally, Hernandez was arrested after setting up a third drug deal on May 27, 2021.
When agents searched Hernandez’ home at the time of his arrest, they found a mixer used for cutting fentanyl with other substances, drug scales, and other drug trafficking equipment.
Hernandez engaged in the drug trafficking in this case while out on bail for charges related to drug trafficking crimes charged in state court. In a search of Hernandez’ home in 2019, agents recovered two firearms, fentanyl powder, heroin, and fentanyl pills. Law enforcement also found methamphetamine, cocaine, and the tools of a drug dealer such as scales and cell phones in the residence.
In asking for a 90-month sentence, prosecutors noted that fentanyl is deadly, not only for drug users but for others who can be inadvertently exposed. Hernandez “was mixing pure powdered fentanyl with various other substances at his house where his mother, girlfriend, and infant daughter lived. Mixing drugs with the lethality of fentanyl — which can kill through air exposure alone—is dangerous enough. Doing so with an infant in the house indicates exceptional recklessness regarding the health risks to others,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.
Hernandez’s federal sentence and his state sentence on the 2019 case can be run concurrently. Following prison, he will be on federal supervised release for 3 years.
The case was investigated by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Seattle and Federal Way Police Departments.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kristine Foerster.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.