Man Busted During ‘Operation Center of Attention’ Sentenced to 15 Years

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Some of the guns and drugs confiscated during ‘Operation Center of Attention’ in White Center in 2011. Photo by Scott Schaefer.

A 31-year-old man busted during last year’s ‘Operation Center of Attention’ in White Center was sentenced Friday (Nov. 9) to 15 years in prison and five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.

Roman Rosas-Martinez, of Lakewood, was arrested in October 2011, as part of a federal crackdown on crime in the White Center neighborhood of King County. U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones imposed the mandatory minimum sentence for the firearms and drug dealing.

According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, in September 2011 Rosas-Martinez first sold a shotgun to a person working with law enforcement. Following that deal, Rosas-Martinez indicated he had relatives who could sell the person methamphetamine. A drug deal was set up for October 12, 2011, with Rosas-Martinez and his associates meeting with the purchaser at a storage facility in White Center. As the conspirators removed about 10 kilograms of methamphetamine from a hidden compartment in their car, they were arrested by law enforcement. Three handguns were recovered. One of the guns belonged to Rosas-Martinez.

In their sentencing request prosecutors noted the large amount of highly pure methamphetamine:

“Distribution of 10 kilograms of pure methamphetamine is a serious offense that has a negative impact on a large scale after it is cut and redistributed to end users. The seriousness of the offense is greatly enhanced when, as here, a defendant carries a loaded firearm to protect himself, and multiple loaded firearms were in close proximity to the methamphetamine,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

“Operation Center of Attention” was a three month, coordinated effort targeting firearms and violent repeat offenders in the White Center area of King County (read our previous coverage here). In all more than 50 people were arrested, 70 guns, 51 lbs of methamphetamine, 2 lbs of crack cocaine and more than 10 lbs of powder cocaine were taken off the street.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The investigation was a coordinated joint effort by ATF, the King County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigation (HSI), the Seattle Police Department, the King County Metro Transit Police, Washington State Department of Corrections, Washington State Liquor Control Board and the Eastside Narcotics Task Force.

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