TACOMA, WASH - Billy Miranda Flores, 41, of Puyallup and Danny Lee Sherwood, 26, of Federal Way, were convicted today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma of a drug distribution conspiracy operated out of two smoke shops on Tribal Trust Land. Flores was convicted of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, distribution of oxycodone, possession of methadone with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Sherwood was convicted of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, distribution of oxycodone, and possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute. The jury deliberated for about four hours following a two week trial. When sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton on May 27, 2011, Flores faces up to life in prison and Sherwood faces up to 20 years in prison. Sherwood also faces trial on two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. The jury will now hear evidence on those counts.
Six people were arrested in October, 2009, following a lengthy investigation of prescription drug dealing from the Indian Smoke Shop on Puyallup Tribal Trust Land in Milton, Washington and the Lil Red Smoke Shop on Tribal Trust Land in Tacoma, Washington. According to records filed in the case, an 18-month investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed that Flores was selling hundreds of pills of oxycontin (oxycodone), along with methadone, each day from the Indian Smoke Shop, which he managed. Flores was also the principal supplier of oxycontin to other members of the conspiracy who then distributed it to others. Sherwood was a key co-conspirator who stored the drugs for Flores and sold them to others. Flores and Sherwood sold the oxycontin for between $35 and $70 per pill, giving discounts for high-volume purchases. Over the course of the investigation, Flores and Sherwood sold oxycontin to law enforcement. In October 2009, agents executed search warrants and seized over $50,000 in cash, proceeds of the drug sales. Flores was caught with hundreds of methadone pills, and Sherwood had hundreds of oxycodone pills in his car and a safe in his bedroom.
The Puyallup Tribe has since bulldozed the Lil Red Smoke Shop and shut down the Indian Smoke Shop. Four other defendants have pleaded guilty in the case: Bill Celeya Flores, 60, of Tacoma, father of defendant Billy Miranda Flores; Tiny Bean-Flores, 29, of Tacoma; Shelbie Ingham, 19; and Jay Timothy Morehead, 24.
This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The lead investigative agencies on the case were the DEA and FBI, with assistance from a number of state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Fife, Milton, Puyallup, and Auburn Police Departments, the Tahoma Narcotics Enforcement Team, and the South Sound Gang Task Force, which includes the Tacoma and Lakewood Police Departments, and the Washington State Patrol and Department of Corrections.