Skip to main content
Press Release

Thurston County man sentenced to prison for drug trafficking and illegal gun possession

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Possessed more than two dozen firearms, including submachine gun, in homes, garage, and underground bunker

Tacoma – A Yelm, Washington man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 57 months in prison for being a felon in possession of firearms and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman.  Daniel Ague Masters, 51, kept a substantial arsenal at both an underground bunker and in a garage on a property in Rainer, Thurston County.  At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle said distributing methamphetamine “is trafficking in poison.  Methamphetamine is a dangerous substance… it destroys people’s lives.  When one is engaged in distributing methamphetamine there is harm being done.”

According to records filed in the case, Masters was known in the Thurston County community as a dealer of methamphetamine who amassed a collection of firearms.  Sources told law enforcement that Masters traded meth for stolen firearms.  A Court-authorized search warrant served on Masters’ homes, underground bunker, and a detached garage he controlled turned up two dozen firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.  Many of the firearms had been reported stolen.  One of the guns was a submachine gun, and another was a rifle with a high-capacity magazine.  Masters is prohibited from possessing firearms due to felony convictions in Thurston County for methamphetamine trafficking, bail jumping, and attempt to elude. 

Masters has been in federal custody since January 2019.  He pleaded guilty in August 2019.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) and the Lewis County Joint Narcotic Enforcement Task Force and the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ye-Ting Woo.


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

Updated May 4, 2021

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses