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Justice News

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

Friday, January 18, 2013

Two Southwest Washington Men Sentenced to Long Prison Terms for Methamphetamine Trafficking

One Led Police On High Speed Chase, Second Defendant Heavily Armed

            Two Southwest Washington men who trafficked more than three pounds of highly pure methamphetamine were each sentenced today to more than 10-years in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. STEVEN MCCRACKEN, 32, of Kelso, Washington and JESUS RAMIREZ-LUCIO, 33, of Washougal, Washington were each sentenced to 14 years in prison and five years of supervised release.  The men were convicted of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in October 2012, following a six day jury trial.  RAMIREZ-LUCIO was also convicted of distribution of methamphetamine, and MCCRACKEN was convicted of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said, “Methamphetamine destroys families. The community has a right to protect itself from those who would ply them with methamphetamine.”

According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, a person working with police alerted members of the Clark Vancouver Regional Drug Task Force that MCCRACKEN and RAMIREZ-LUCIO were planning the drug deal.  The men met at a Kelso, Washington home on March 25, 2011, where MCCRACKEN paid RAMIREZ-LUCIO more than $34,000 for three pounds of methamphetamine.  After the drug deal, both men were followed by law enforcement as they left the house.  Police pulled MCCRACKEN over on I-5.  As the law enforcement officer approached the driver’s window, MCCRACKEN pulled out into traffic, leading police on a chase at speeds up to 90 MPH.  On the Route 432 bridge, MCCRACKEN pulled to the side of the road, left the car running and threw bags of methamphetamine into the Cowlitz River. MCCRACKEN was arrested, and other officers retrieved bags of meth floating in the river.  Some of the meth was damaged, but one of the bags was intact.  RAMIREZ-LUCIO was arrested as he traveled back to Vancouver with more than $34,000 in cash in a shopping bag in his car.  In a search of RAMIREZ-LUCIO’s home police recovered four firearms and a marijuana grow with more than 700 plants.

MCCRACKEN has been convicted three prior times in state court for distributing methamphetamine: Cowlitz County Superior Court, 1999; Clark County Superior Court 2002 and Josephine County Circuit Court (Oregon) 2006.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, which includes officers from the FBI and the Vancouver Police Department, the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Narcotics Task Force, which includes officers from the Kelso Police Department and the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, among others, and the Clark Vancouver Regional Drug Task Force.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Brian Werner and Michael Lang.

Updated March 24, 2015