Questions About Drug Cases Involving Individuals Currently in King County Jail
Following today’s Washington State Supreme Court ruling, there have been questions about cases involving people currently booked into King County Jail tied to drug cases handled by the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
There are six of these cases, and below is a summary of each followed by notes on drug cases overall:
Defendant is convicted of child molestation and had a Department of Corrections escape warrant when he was charged in the drug case. His current King County Jail booking is also connected to a felony harassment case (20–1–05352–6), which was dismissed Feb. 19. He was booked Feb. 16 on a failure to appear warrant, and his last bench warrant in the drug case (19–1–07082–6) was issued Feb. 1. In the drug case, the defendant had 8 grams of meth, a scale and three cell phones in addition to the escape warrant.
Defendant was booked early Thursday morning, Feb. 25. The defendant has an extensive criminal history, including theft, first-degree robbery, harassment, threats to harm and malicious mischief. A judge signed a warrant that was issued in another drug case in Nov. 2020 (19–1–06310–2). This is believed to be the warrant tied to his current booking. In that case, he had 3.8 grams of meth — but was contacted as a suspect in a hit-and-run case and also had a Department of Corrections felony escape warrant. Separate from that, this individual had a Seattle Police drug case referred to us on Jan. 25 that is being reviewed now. In that case he fled from police and was found with cocaine, heroin, shaved car keys and 12 9mm bullets. We also have two other case referrals for the defendant: a residential burglary case and a stolen vehicle case.
The defendant was booked Feb. 24 on a felony warrant in a case where he was found in a tent with heroin and cocaine. When he was found with the drugs in a tent in 2018 — found through a judge-approved search warrant — the defendant had a warrant in another felony case (18–1–02324–2).
Defendant was found asleep behind the wheel of a parked car that was on while he was on active Department of Corrections supervision for driving with a suspended license and was required to have an ignition interlock device. A search warrant found escitalopram, suboxone, amoxicillin, methocarbamol, 3.1 grams of meth, 2.1 grams of heroin and a torch. The defendant’s conviction history includes residential burglary, multiple theft cases, hit-and-run, criminal trespass, three DUIs, reckless driving and three driving with a suspended license convictions. The case was filed with a warrant, approved by a judge. He was booked into the King County Jail Oct. 21, 2020. The defendant has at least 77 prior bench warrants.
The defendant is also held for failing to appear in a Tacoma felony case for vehicular assault. In the drug case, after he fled from police he was found with heroin and Suboxone packets. He also had a domestic violence warrant out of Bellevue when initially arrested in that case. Deputies said he also had a BB gun that looked real, a wig, change of shoes and gloves. The defendant, who has a history of at least 37 bench warrants, had pending warrants in three different courts when we filed the drug case with a warrant in October 2019. He was not arrested until November 7. His conviction history includes unlawful gun possession, theft, burglary, vehicle theft and malicious mischief.
The defendant was found with 11.8 grams of Xanax, but also had an outstanding $5,000 warrant in an attempted forgery case. Between the time of the defendant’s first appearance, where he was released by a judge, and the filing of charges, this individual also had warrants in a domestic violence assault case and a theft case. He has prior convictions for domestic violence assault, DUI, attempted theft, at least 12 theft convictions, possession of stolen property and criminal solicitations — and at least 27 warrants since 2015. The case was filed Feb. 4 and he was arrested Feb. 19.
Here is some additional background information on how drug cases are handled by our office:
- In 2008, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office started charging simple drug possession as a misdemeanor rather than a felony.
- In 2018, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said anyone caught with less than a gram of any drug — the size of a sugar packet — would not be prosecuted, although police can ask prosecutors to charge someone who is a danger. Those rare cases are the ones outlined above.
- In 2020, we filed 580 felony drug cases county-wide. With that number there is not a way to differentiate the amount of drugs — so that includes cases everything from several grams of heroin to high-end drug dealing, to drug houses. But there must be clear evidence that brings the case to the felony level. Each case is reviewed independently, and cases are filed publicly.
- Of those 580 cases, 174 of those were filed to Drug Court. Drug Court has been operating in King County since 1994.