Michael J. Waddington, 24, of Silver Lake, Wash, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to ten years in prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and being armed with a firearm in connection with a drug crime.
The Cowlitz County man was arrested in June 2010, after a series of run ins with law enforcement, the United States Attorney’s Office in Seattle said a press release. Evidence indicated he was part of a drug ring distributing highly pure methamphetamine or “ice” in Lewis and Cowlitz Counties.
Judge Robert J. Bryan imposed the sentence.
According to the press release:
The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Narcotics Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration began investigating Waddington and other members of the drug distribution ring in 2009. Information revealed that Waddington and co-defendants Anthony Reisbeck, Erica Lewis, and Randy S. Chalupa were selling pound quantities of methamphetamine in and around Kelso, Washington.
Law enforcement officers stopped Waddington on a number of occasions related to traffic offenses and discovered he possessed methamphetamine.
Last January, Waddington was involved in a hit and run crash. Cowlitz County Sheriff’s deputies pursued the van he was driving and he ultimately ran off the road and tried to flee. He was caught by deputies. A search of his backpack revealed methamphetamine and a stolen hand gun.
Waddington was stopped by police on June 22, 2010, driving with a suspended license. Again he possessed methamphetamine, a silver club and metal knuckles. He admitted one of his roles in the drug organization was to collect drug debts.
WADDINGTON has been in custody since June 23nd pleaded guilty October 8.
In asking for a significant term of imprisonment, Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey Backhus noted for the court that Waddington illegally possessed multiple firearms – rifles, pistols, and a sawed-off shotgun. He also “was convicted of assault in 2007 after he and a co-defendant punched and kicked the victim and stole the victim’s wallet, car keys and cell phone. (Waddington) later threatened to harm a potential witness to the aforementioned assault/robbery, which resulted in Defendant’s 2007 conviction for tampering with a witness. Clearly, Defendant has proven himself to be an ongoing danger to the community at-large,” Backhus wrote in his sentencing memo.
The other defendants will be sentenced in early 2011.