21 Year-Old Yakima-Area Gang Member Sentenced for Possessing Firearms in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime
Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison
Yakima, Washington – On January 24, 2023, United States District Judge Mary K. Dimke sentenced Alexis Sanchez-Gomez, 21, of Moxee, Washington, to 12 years in federal prison after his guilty plea to Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of a Drug-Trafficking crime. Sanchez-Gomez, a documented member of the Lower Valley Locos (“LVL”) street gang, will also begin five years of court supervision after he is released from custody.
According to information disclosed during court proceedings, on October 21, 2021, there was a gang related drive-by shooting in the City of Yakima. A 34-year- old man was killed while simply walking down the sidewalk wearing red colored clothing. As in communities up and down the West Coast, the color red is associated with some Norteno street gangs in the Yakima Valley, while the color blue is associated with some Sureno street gangs. The Yakima Police Department immediately began an investigation. Law enforcement gathered evidence that established that the shooter was likely a member or associated with a Sureno street gang. As the investigation progressed, the lead detective discovered that after the drive-by shooting, the shooter fled to Sanchez-Gomez’s residence in Moxee, Washington. The Yakima Police Department coordinated with the Moxee Police Department and gathered additional information.
On November 19, 2021, the Yakima Police Department and other law enforcement agencies executed a search warrant at the Sanchez-Gomez residence. Officers entered the residence and discovered a marijuana grow operation and a quantity of methamphetamine. Officers entered the Defendant’s bedroom and observed that it was decorated with gang-related graffiti. The officers also discovered three firearms, including an AK-47 style rifle. As the search continued, the officers discovered magazines and ammunition. DEA was contacted and began an investigation, which revealed that Sanchez-Gomez had been selling methamphetamine. DEA also discovered that Sanchez-Gomez had repeated contacts with law enforcement in recent years. The DEA discovered that in October 2019, Sanchez-Gomez attempted to elude a police vehicle and was involved in a hit-and-run. Two months later, in December 2019, Sanchez-Gomez was again arrested after being found in possession of a firearm. In September 2020, Sanchez-Gomez was sentenced to 90 days in jail for the three felony offenses.
According to DEA, the drive-by shooting investigation was completed, and resulted in the Yakima Police Department arresting both the suspected driver and suspected shooter. The cases are currently pending in Yakima County Superior Court. “This investigation demonstrates how seriously DEA takes its obligations to its state, local, and federal partners. We are committed to bringing our investigative expertise whenever necessary against individuals who seek to harm our communities,” said Jacob D. Galvan, Acting Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division.
Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, commended the joint efforts of law enforcement: “Gang-related violence is a scourge in the Yakima Valley and elsewhere. My office will continue to work with law enforcement professionals from multiple agencies to investigate and prosecute armed individuals who are involved with drugs and criminal street gangs. Removing these individuals from society will make all of our neighborhoods and communities safer and stronger.”
Matt Murray, Chief of the Yakima Police Department, highlighted the close working relationship between YPD, DEA, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “Meaningfully addressing violent crime – and the drug and gun crimes that so often turn violent – requires a collaborative effort between all of our local and federal partners. This case is just one example of the ways we work together to reduce and address crime and improve the lives and safety of the people in this community.” Chief Murray also urged anyone involved in lives of violence and crime to change what they are doing: “STOP now. Take the assistance that is available through our community partners to change your life. If you do not stop engaging in violence, we will engage to stop you. As this case shows, the result may be a lengthy sentence in state or federal custody.”
This case was investigated by the Yakima Police Department, the Moxee Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tom Hanlon.
This case was prosecuted under the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program. PSN is a federal, state, and local law enforcement collaboration to identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals responsible for violent crimes in our neighborhoods. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement to specifically identify the criminals responsible for violent crime in the Eastern District of Washington and pursue criminal prosecution.