A repeat offender who was arrested twice by Tacoma Police officers with baggies of crack cocaine was sentenced yesterday to 20 years in prison following his convictions at trial for conspiracy to distribute cocaine base (crack), four counts of possession of cocaine and cocaine base with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, being a felon in possession of a firearm and witness tampering, announced U. S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. TITUS DION PETERSON, 34, has a lengthy criminal history including multiple convictions for drug dealing, assault, resisting arrest, and bank robbery. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle said his primary concern was protecting the public, saying to PETERSON, “The Court has no confidence … that you’re at a point mentally to make a change in your life.”
According to records filed in the case, Tacoma Police officers stopped PETERSON January 13, 2010, for jaywalking and determined that he had attempted to toss two baggies containing a total of about an ounce of crack cocaine after noticing the officers in the area. PETERSON was arrested, and failed to appear in court on the charges. After a warrant was issued on that case, PETERSON was located a second time by Tacoma Police Officers on October 31, 2011. Following a traffic stop, officers found another ounce of crack cocaine in a baggy in the vehicle PETERSON was driving. Following that arrest, members of the FBI’s South Sound Gang Task Force went to PETERSON’s apartment and a storage unit he controlled. In the storage unit officers found an additional nine ounces of crack and powder cocaine, $23,000 in cash, and two firearms. One was a Taurus 9mm semi-automatic pistol loaded with 13 rounds, the other was a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol loaded with 15 rounds. While incarcerated awaiting trial, PETERSON made numerous phone calls to friends and family members attempting to thwart the investigation and prosecution. Those calls resulted in the witness tampering conviction. PETERSON was convicted on October 5, 2012 following a three day bench trial (after waiving his right to a jury trial).
The case was investigated by the FBI’s South Sound Gang Task Force, which also includes officers from the Tacoma Police Department, the Washington Department of Corrections and State Patrol, the Lakewood Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gregory A. Gruber.