By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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Tammy Rae Coburn, 47, of Port Angeles is in federal custody in Tacoma, a day after the U.S. Attorney's Office announced the culmination of an investigation into a Western Washington meth distribution ring and the seizure of more than 66 pounds of meth and 2.5 pounds of heroin in a conversion lab in Spanaway.
The investigation — which spanned Clallam, Jefferson, Pierce and Kitsap counties — led to the arrest Sunday of a Sequim businessman, Timothy Patrick Smith, 29, and Kelsey A. Davis, 25, also of Sequim, who was described as his girlfriend.
All three have been charged in federal court with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, four counts of distribution of methamphetamine and maintaining drug involved premises.
Smith, owner of Sellin' Style car dealership in Blyn, and Davis, were arrested in Jefferson County after a brief high-speed chase in which State Patrol troopers said they recovered 1.6 pounds of suspected meth thrown from the car.
Coburn remained at large until about noon Wednesday. No court hearings had been set as of Wednesday afternoon.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said Tuesday that Smith's car dealership, at 251 Old Blyn Highway in Blyn, was a major meth distribution point.
“This would put a significant dent into the supply,” said Clallam County Sheriff Detective Sgt. John Keegan.
He added that the removal of a major supplier and distribution point could drive up the prices of the remaining meth supply, leaving many users desperate to find a way to fund their drug use.
“Criminal activity may go up,” he said.
Keegan said that residents should report anything suspicious in their neighborhoods or any known drug activity.
Anonymous tips can be left at the North Olympic Crime Stoppers tips hotline, 800-222-8477 or online at www.crimestoppersusa.com.
Davis is scheduled for a detention hearing today in federal court in Tacoma, and Smith was in custody at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac.
The two-year, multi-agency operation included more than a dozen federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, and extended from Clallam County to Spanaway in Pierce County, authorities said.
The investigation led to 16 arrests overall — most from Tacoma, Kent, Lakewood, and Puyallup — and took more than 66 pounds of meth and 2.5 pounds of heroin off the streets, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
“This criminal group built a business in moving two drugs, meth and heroin, that destroy lives and families and tear apart communities,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
Investigators also reported the seizure of $310,000 in cash and 25 vehicles — many with hidden compartments, and seven firearms — three of them stolen.
The Drug Enforcement Administration led the wire-tap investigation which uncovered a conversion lab in Spanaway, where liquid meth was processed into highly addictive crystal methamphetamine.
Because of the large amounts of drugs involved in the case, and the inclusion of firearms, defendants could face mandatory minimums of 10 years in prison, with the possibilities of life sentences if convicted, Durkan said.
Smith's legal record in Clallam County began in 2001, when Smith was 17 years old and he pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the June 27, 2001 shooting death of Michael Sindars, 16.
Smith, who spent two years in prison, told police the gun accidentally discharged when it fell on the floor.
In May 2010, Smith was charged with fourth-degree assault and hit-and-run for allegedly deliberately ramming another truck and shooting the driver of the other vehicle in the forehead with a BB gun, and with first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance after the Clallam County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant in response to the assault.
All charges in the case — including charges stemming from the vehicle assault — were dropped without prejudice because evidence obtained from the search warrant, including damage to the truck and the recovery of the BB gun, was tossed out of court due to insufficient evidence for a search warrant.
In 2011, he was charged with second-degree rendering criminal assistance and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm after police said he helped Michael J. Moyle leave the scene of a wreck in Port Angeles involving a family of four.
Smith, who had turned himself in to authorities, pled guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 100 days in jail, with credit for 100 days served.
Moyle, who had been accused of ramming his Mustang into the car of a family of four, was found guilty of four counts of vehicular assault, two counts of second-degree assault of a child, second-degree assault and intentional infliction of bodily harm and hit-and-run and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Smith's court record also includes a variety of charges, many dealing with meth, from 2008 until 2010, with most dismissed and Smith serving no prison time.
Coburn has an extensive history of arrests relating to meth use, beginning in 1996, according to the Clallam County courts database. She was not convicted in any of the cases.
Davis does not have a recorded criminal history, according to a search of the Clallam County courts database.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.