Gerald Neil Walkup sits with attorney Stan Myers during Walkup’s sentencing Wednesday after pleading guilty to drug and weapons charges in Clallam County Superior Court. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Gerald Neil Walkup sits with attorney Stan Myers during Walkup’s sentencing Wednesday after pleading guilty to drug and weapons charges in Clallam County Superior Court. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles man found with two pounds of heroin sentenced

PORT ANGELES — An apologetic Gerald Neil Walkup was sentenced Thursday to nearly 12 years in prison in connection to one of the largest heroin busts in Clallam County history.

Walkup, 27, was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Brian Coughenour to 140 months as recommended by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney April King.

“I’m truly sorry for what I did, your honor,” Walkup said.

Walkup pleaded guilty in November to possession of heroin with intent to deliver, possession of methamphetamine, four counts of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and third-degree assault.

The heroin charge carried a firearm enhancement that raised Walkup’s standard sentencing range to between 136 months and 156 months.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said Walkup crashed a vehicle in Gales Addition last April 2, leading to the discovery of more than two pounds of heroin, more than one pound of methamphetamine and about $9,000 in cash.

“If my math’s correct, it was over 535 grams of methamphetamine,” King told the court. “There was over 950 grams of heroin found in various bags.

“There were four firearms,” King added. “He had over $9,000 in cash, and obviously the state would argue ill-gotten gain.”

Clallam County Sheriff’s Office Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King said the estimated street value of the heroin found in Walkup’s possession was $95,000.

At $80 a gram, the estimated street value of the methamphetamine was $42,800, King said.

“As far as heroin is concerned, that’s the largest quantity of heroin [seized] that I know of in the past decade,” Brian King said in a Thursday interview.

“It’s a good chunk of tar. It’s a pretty significant quantity for us up on the Peninsula.”

The source of Walkup’s supply was still under investigation, Brian King said.

The heroin was produced in Mexico and carried up the Interstate-5 corridor, he said.

The assault charge against Walkup stemmed from a July 12 attack in the Clallam County jail that left another inmate with fractured ribs. The charge was filed separately but was included in the plea agreement.

“There is no reason for an exceptional downward [sentence] in regard to this case, because even after your incarceration you committed another felony,” Coughenour told Walkup.

“I feel for you, but as a judge I have to make the tough decisions here.”

Defense attorney Stan Myers had requested a 120-month exceptional downward sentence for Walkup, saying his client had taken responsibility for actions.

He “has periods in his life where he is sober and he does some pretty remarkable things with regard to his employment and whatnot, taking care of his family and whatnot,” said Myers, noting that Walkup has a 7-year-old child.

“Then he relapses. And he doesn’t do things half-way. He’s full force ahead with everything that he does.”

Prior to the sentencing, April King recited Walkup’s criminal history, mostly drug violations that resulted in jail time, a drug offender sentencing alternative (DOSA) to prison and enrollment in rehabilitative programs.

“The state insists that it’s done everything it can to have repeatedly given Mr. Walkup a break,” April King said.

“We’ve given him an opportunity to tax-funded resources — treatment, recovery houses, counseling — to try to fix things.

“Mr. Walkup has repaid the community with his repeated criminal offenses,” April King added.

By bringing large amounts of heroin and methamphetamine to Clallam County, Walkup contributed to “significant public health and safety” issues for his customers, their families and law enforcement personnel who respond to drug-fueled incidents, April King said.

“He, in the state’s view, has significantly contributed to the drug problem that has been plaguing the local community,” April King said.

The deputy prosecutor said the state was “strongly opposed” to any appeal for a sentence below the standard range.

Myers countered that 10 years is “not a slap on the wrist.”

Walkup read a remorseful statement to the court, pleading for a reduced sentence.

“I would like to sincerely apologize for what I have done,” Walkup began. “Words cannot describe how truly sorry I am. Your honor, I come before you today taking full responsibility for my actions.”

In 2013, Superior Court Judge Erik Rohrer imposed a DOSA sentence for Walkup for that changed his life, he said.

“While serving my sentence, I applied myself in the therapeutic community, and in doing so I became a new man,” Walkup said.

Walkup said he graduated from a treatment program and held a key position at a local Oxford House, where recovering addicts live together, support each other and teach each other life skills to be productive members of ­society.

”Most of all I was an active parent to my 7-year-old son,” said Walkup, who recalled a series of “first moments” he shared with his child.

“Life, and the potential that I had reached, was far greater than I had ever known until the day I put drugs back into my body. It’s no excuse, yet everything in my life I had established was quickly destroyed.”

Walkup said he planned to use his prison time wisely, taking advantage of drug recovery and education programs.

“I plan to gain tools and address my character defects so I never again find myself faced with such a horrible situation of my own creation,” Walkup said.

”I have faith that today, God’s will will be done and I will become a better man worthy of redemption and able to re-enter the community and become a positive fixture and put all this behind me.”

________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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