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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Washington

For Immediate Release

Thursday, January 25, 2018
Annette L. Hayes
, United States Attorney
Contact: Emily Langlie

Tacoma Man Convicted of Drug Distribution and Gun Crime

Faces Mandatory Minimum 15-Years in Prison for Dealing Meth while Armed

A Tacoma man was convicted today of two federal felonies involving guns and drug dealing which could lead to more than 15 years in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  GERALD CLAUDE CARLSON, 57, was arrested in May 2016, when police serving a court authorized search warrant on his home, uncovered more than a pound of methamphetamine, 53 firearms and $34,000 in cash.  Two of the firearms were loaded and located near the meth and other drug trafficking materials.  The jury deliberated about two hours following the three-day trial.  U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton ordered CARLSON into custody and scheduled sentencing for April 20, 2018.

CARLSON came to the attention of law enforcement in early 2016, when someone working with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department purchased methamphetamine from CARLSON.  Based on those contacts law enforcement obtained a search warrant.  In CARLSON’s bedroom they found the pound of meth packaged for distribution as well as identity documents and two loaded firearms: a Springfield Armory 9 mm semi-automatic pistol and a Smith and Wesson .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol.

Carlson’s girlfriend, who was present when the police executed the search warrant, pleaded guilty to drug related charges in Pierce County Superior Court.

Due to the amount of drugs in this case, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute is punishable by a mandatory minimum ten years in prison and up to life in prison.  Possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime is punishable by a mandatory minimum 5 years in prison and up to life in prison, to run consecutive to any sentence imposed on the drug possession count.

The case was investigated by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, Special Investigations Unit.  Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and Drug Enforcement Administration also testified as expert witnesses at trial.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Gregory A. Gruber and Andre Penalver.


Field Division: Seattle Field Division