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Washington State News

Yakima Man Who Sold Pound Quantities of Methamphetamine and Fentanyl in the Yakima Valley Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison

Yakima, Washington – Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced today that Jesse Lee Johnson, 36, of Yakima, Washington, was sentenced after pleading guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine. United States District Judge Mary K. Dimke imposed a sentence of 120 months imprisonment to be followed by 5 years of supervised release.

Johnson’s codefendant, Ronald Lee Ralston, was sentenced on February 27, 2024, to 138 months in prison and 5 years supervised release.

According to court documents and information presented at trial and the sentencing hearing, the FBI developed information that Johnson and Ralston, were distributing large amounts of methamphetamine and fentanyl from Ralston’s home in Selah, Washington.

FBI Task Force members arranged for a confidential informant to set up a controlled buy at Ralston’s house. On May 4, 2023, the informant arrived at the home and tried to purchase methamphetamine from Ralston. However, Ralston said the methamphetamine he had on hand was spoken for and not for sale. While no sale took place that day, Ralston and Johnson were captured on video discussing future drug sales.

On May 16, the informant returned to Ralston’s home and purchased one pound of methamphetamine and 100 pills of fentanyl from Ralston and Johnson for $2,000. Ralston also told the informant he could get any amount of methamphetamine and fentanyl with 24-hour notice.

A search warrant was executed on June 7, 2023, at Ralston’s residence. In Ralston’s trailer, located on the property, law enforcement seized 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine, other controlled substances, and two firearms. In the main residence, law enforcement officers seized another firearm and an additional half-pound of methamphetamine.

“Mr. Johnson and Ralston were distributing large amounts of illicit drugs into our communities. Discovering and dismantling illegal drug supply chains is a main priority for my office,” stated U.S. Attorney Waldref. “I’m grateful for our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, who work closely with federal prosecutors to stop drug distributors and make Eastern Washington safer and stronger.”

“The FBI and our partners are committed to removing deadly drugs from Washington state, which are so often accompanied by violent crime and addiction,” said Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Seattle field office. “This sentence should serve as a reminder that we will hold drug traffickers accountable and that these crimes have consequences.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, Customs and Border Protection and the Selah Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Swensen.

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