JULY 9 (SEATTLE) – Today, a Whatcom County man who ran a drug distribution network was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. Todd Hamilton, 36, of Bellingham ran the area’s most widespread and prolific drug trafficking organization using violence and threats of violence to impose his will. At sentencing U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said the community should be grateful Hamilton is off the street.
According to the plea agreement and other records filed in the case, upon his January 2011 release from Washington State prison, Hamilton began running a heroin and methamphetamine distribution ring operating in Whatcom County. During a court authorized wiretap investigation, law enforcement learned Hamilton purchased significant quantities of methamphetamine and heroin from his Olympia, Washington based supplier and had it transported to the Bellingham area for further distribution. When Hamilton’s home was searched in December 2011, investigators found meth and heroin, drug ledgers and packaging materials. They also found a loaded Cobra Enterprise, Inc.45 caliber pistol.
During the investigation, DEA agents learned that Hamilton purchased several pounds of methamphetamine and heroin each week, spending tens of thousands of dollars to redistribute the drugs in his community for profit. The investigation also revealed that Hamilton had recruited an employee of the Department of Corrections (DOC) to assist him with his drug trafficking. The employee, also charged and convicted in this conspiracy, used his access to a Department of Corrections computer to determine whether law enforcement was investigating Hamilton. He no longer works for the DOC.
Hamilton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime on April 1, 2013.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Washington State Patrol, the Washington State Department of Corrections, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the Skagit County Interlocal Drug Enforcement Unit (SCIDEU) and the Northwest Regional Drug Task Force.
This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved, and was investigated and prosecuted pursuant to the United States Attorney’s Northwest Washington Hot Spot Initiative.