The Eastern District of Washington’s United States Attorney, Vanessa R. Waldref, announced today that a 30-year-old man from Salinas, California, was sentenced after entering a guilty plea to possession with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of actual (pure) methamphetamine.
Michael Lopez Ferrel was given a sentence of 108 months in prison and five years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Mary K. Dimke.
Ferrel was providing a significant amount of pharmaceuticals to distributors in Eastern Washington, the Drug Enforcement Administration discovered in February 2022, based on evidence provided during sentencing and court filings.
A rendezvous to purchase up to 20 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and 500 tablets laced with fentanyl was arranged through a confidential informant
An audio conversation between the informant and Ferrel was taped in March of 2022. In the conversation, Ferrel stated that he was shipping 180–220 pounds of methamphetamine every week from Mexico to Yakima. Ferrel met the source in person later that day.
Ferrel offered to give the informant pills that contained lethal doses of fentanyl and 20 pounds of methamphetamine. Ferrel added that he had direct access to a Mexican drug source and contacts in Mexicali and Tijuana who could assist with the substance’s transportation.
Ferrel had plans to sell the confidential informant ten pounds of methamphetamine over the phone on March 10, 2022. There were surveillance cameras positioned at Ferrel’s home and the meeting spot with the informant.
Ferrel was being followed by agents from his home to another place that was being utilized as a stash house for drugs. Ferrel was later seen by agents loading cocaine into the car’s trunk. Ferrel was still being followed by agents while he went to see the informant.
Ferrel came over and took the cocaine out of the informant’s truck after pulling up next to it. Then he entered the informant’s car and handed the informant ten pounds of meth. Ten pre-packed zip-lock bags, each holding one pound of meth, were used to package the contraband.
Ferrel arranged to meet the informant in Prosser, Washington, the next day in order to get payment for the drugs. Ferrel was arrested by detectives as soon as he arrived at the scene.
Agents carried out a search warrant later that day at the home that Ferrel’s group was using as a stash house. Three thousand dollars in US money, a loaded Colt.45 pistol, a digital scale, and more than ten pounds of methamphetamine were discovered by agents.
David F. Reames, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division, stated, “The Drug Enforcement Administration and our Federal, state, tribal, and local partners, strive to keep us all safe from those who would prey on our communities. This sentence against a methamphetamine and fentanyl trafficker proves our resolve to stop traffickers like Mr. Ferrel wherever they operate.”
With assistance from the Tri-Cities FBI, Tri-Cities Metro Drug Task Force, Tri-Cities Regional SWAT, United States Border Patrol, and Tri-Cities FBI, DEA Tri-Cities looked into this case. Stephanie Van Marter, an assistant United States attorney, handled this case.