April 27, 2015
Contact: Jodie Underwood
Phone Number: (206) 553-5443
Leaders Of Meth And Heroin Distribution Ring Sentenced To Long Prison Terms
Organization maintained dangerous lab for converting liquid meth to crystal
SEATTLE - The father and two sons who led a Pierce County based drug trafficking ring that distributed methamphetamine and heroin were sentenced last week in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to long prison terms. Luis Hernandez, 60, of Tacoma was sentenced to 10 years in prison. His two sons, Juan Hernandez, 34, of Kent, Washington and Jaime Hernandez, 29, of Tacoma were each sentenced to 12 years in prison. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton noted that heroin and meth destroys lives, saying this family group had “worked mightily to destroy other families.”
“The leaders of this trafficking group contributed to the methamphetamine and heroin addiction in the Pacific NW,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Douglas James. “It is clear that the members of this group had no regard for the safety of the community as they operated a methamphetamine conversion lab involving extremely dangerous and flammable chemicals. Methamphetamine and heroin continue to be the top drug threats in the region and DEA will continue to work with our federal, state and local counterparts to address these threats.”
The Drug Enforcement Administration led this wire-tap investigation which uncovered a conversion lab in Spanaway, Washington where liquid methamphetamine was processed into highly addictive crystal methamphetamine. The conversion of liquid methamphetamine to crystal methamphetamine is a potentially dangerous process involving highly flammable chemicals such as acetone. In all fifteen people were charged in connection with this drug distribution ring, and all have entered guilty pleas.
This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. This investigation was led by DEA Tacoma in conjunction with Tahoma Narcotics Enforcement Team, Lakewood Police Department, West Sound Narcotics Team, and Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.