Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

February 16, 2010

Jenny A. Durkan, United States Attorney

Contact: Emily Langlie

Public Affairs Officer

(206) 553-4110

Seattle Gang Member Gets 6+ Years in Federal Prison For Dealing Crack Cocaine

Defendant Prosecuted as part of Federal Crackdown on Gang Violence

JOEL BERNARD PERRY, 29, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 78 months in prison and five years of supervised release for Distribution of Crack Cocaine.  PERRY is a known associate of a Seattle-area street gang.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge James L. Robart noted the violence associated with crack cocaine dealing saying, Drugs are both a reflection of problems in our society and a cause of problems in our society.

According to records filed in the case, on eight different occasions between June 2006, and January 2008, PERRY sold crack cocaine in sales that were documented by law enforcement.  In each of the transactions PERRY sold an amount of crack that triggers a mandatory minimum five years prison sentence.  PERRY has three prior convictions for drug dealing.  The investigation also sought to determine whether PERRY was dealing firearms.  PERRY has prior arrests for weapons possession, including an attempt to smuggle a firearm into the King County Courthouse.

At sentencing PERRY vowed to change saying, This is something I deserve because I put myself in this position.  I made the wrong decision.  I want to change the stereotype that I put upon myself.

In asking for a significant prison sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi cited the need to deter PERRY’s ongoing criminal conduct, which includes his association with violent assaults, and his presence at the scene of a gang murder.  In addition the prosecution of gang members is designed to deter others from getting involved in the drug trade.  Mr. Lombardi wrote to the court that  the government has targeted the gang Perry is most closely associated with, and is a well-known figure in that “community.”  Imposing a significant sentence will have more than a general deterrent value.  Instead, it sends a real, specific message to the remaining members of Deuce-8, many of whom are juveniles - stop dealing drugs, or face significant penalties.

The case was investigated by the ATF Violent Gang Task Force.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi.  Mr. Lombardi serves as the Anti-Gang coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@Justice.Gov.