Spokane – William D. Hyslop, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Jesus Valencia-Morfin, age 31, of Yakima, Washington, was sentenced today after having pleaded guilty on February 19, 2020, to Possession with Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine. Senior District Court Judge Wm. Fremming Nielsen sentenced Valencia-Morfin to an 11-year term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 5-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison.
According to information disclosed during court proceedings, Valencia-Morfin was identified through a long-term joint investigation led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (“ATF”) and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) into drug and firearms trafficking in the Grant County, Washington, and surrounding areas. Through the investigation, which included a court-authorized wire-tap, Valencia-Morfin was identified as a drug trafficker who primarily worked as a transporter of multiple kilogram-quantities of methamphetamine to various customers throughout Eastern Washington.
In July 2019, search warrants were executed at multiple locations, including Valencia-Morfin’s residence in the Yakima, Washington area. During that search, multiple firearms were located in Valencia-Morfin’s bedroom, as well as a ballistic vest and user-amounts of methamphetamine. Approximately 6 pounds of methamphetamine was located in the trunk of the vehicle Valencia-Morfin owned and utilized to transport controlled substances.
One of the firearms, a Smith & Wesson SDS Model SD9VE 9mm semi-automatic handgun, seized from Valenica-Morfin’s residence was identified through ATF’s National Integrated Ballistics Network (“NIBIN”) as being the firearm utilized to shoot two victims on December 24, 2018, in Yakima County. One of the victims was hospitalized as a result of that shooting. Valencia-Morfin was also charged by the State of Washington for the conduct arising from the shootings and, as part of a global resolution with the federal drug trafficking case, pled guilty in Yakima County Superior Court (Case Number 2010032739) to two counts of Assault 2 with a Deadly Weapon Enhancement.
United States Attorney Hyslop said “This case highlights the use of an important and invaluable technology — NIBIN. Through NIBIN, law enforcement can now link seemingly random cases to one firearm and bring the individual who used that firearm to justice. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington and our federal, state, local and Tribal law enforcement partners will use every tool at our disposal to investigate and prosecute dangerous armed criminals.”
“The sentence handed down to Mr. Valencia-Morfin is a reflection of his blatant disregard for the rule of law,” said ATF Seattle Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson. “Sentences such as this one removes a dangerous offender from our streets and will hopefully serve as a deterrent to others.”
This case was made possible by investigative leads generated from the ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (“NIBIN”). NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms. NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly disrupt shooting cycles. For more information on NIBIN, visit https://www.atf.gov/firearms/national-integrated-ballistic-information-network-nibin.
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.
This case is also part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. The OCDETF program provides supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved in the investigation of drug-related crimes. This OCDETF investigation is being conducted by the DEA and ATF.
This case was investigated by the Spokane District Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Spokane Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the Moses Lake Police Department, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, the Ephrata Police Department, Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, the Union Gap Police Department, the Grandview Police Department, the Sunnyside Police Department, the Washington State Patrol, and the Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. This case was prosecuted by Caitlin Baunsgard, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.