Forks drug dealer gets 5.5 years in federal prison

Dennis Fisher

Dennis Fisher

TACOMA — A Forks man convicted of drug dealing, who was once accused of hiding methamphetamine in a baby’s diaper was sentenced this week to 66 months in federal prison for distribution of heroin and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Dennis Jason Wayne Fisher accepted a plea deal in August and his sentencing was delayed until Monday as he cooperated with a secret federal investigation involving a grand jury, according to court documents.

As a result of the plea deal, several charges were dismissed, including possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, a second count of distribution of heroin and distribution of methamphetamine.

At sentencing Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle said Fisher’s story was one of addiction, that his addiction overcame him, according to Emily Langlie, Department of Justice spokesperson.

Settle said that drug dealing is a serious offense and that when weapons are tied to it, people will sometimes engage in violence, often against other drug traffickers, she said.

Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King of the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, said the case shows how well local agencies work with federal partners to get sentences that otherwise would be impossible in the state court system.

“It exemplifies the cooperation that occurs between our local agencies on the Peninsula and our partnership with the FBI with holding the most serious drug offenders in our county accountable,” King said.

“This is a case that [the Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team] initiated by working with the Forks Police Department in identifying a bad actor in their community and using all of our available resources to bring him to justice.”

At sentencing it was recommended that Fisher participate in the Residential Drug Abuse Program at the low-security Federal Correctional Institute Terminal Island in San Pedro, Calif.

The Residential Drug Abuse Program is the Bureau of Prisons’ most intensive treatment program, the Bureau said.

Offenders live in a unit separate from general population and spend a half day participating in programming and another half day doing work, school or vocational activities.

Successful completion of the program in some cases can result in being released up to a year early, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

FBI investigation

The FBI began investigating Fisher after June 25, 2017, when Forks Police Officer Joseph Solberg stopped Fisher and allegedly found a golf-ball-size chunk of meth in a baby’s diaper.

The child’s mother could be heard pounding on the inside of the trunk of the vehicle saying “Let me out!,” according to court records.

After searching the car the next day, police said they found 500 Mexican pesos and a large container of 11 loaded syringes inside, federal court papers said.

Fisher had been charged for the incident in Clallam County Superior Court, but the charges were dropped after he was arrested by the FBI in December 2017. His arrest was the culmination of a several-months-long OPNET and FBI investigation.

“Not only was he dealing in illicit drugs, he was dealing with stolen firearms as well,” King said.

OPNET investigators found several messages on Fisher’s cellphone in which he talked about dealing heroin, federal court papers say.

FBI Special Agent Ted Halla wrote in his 2017 criminal complaint against Fisher that he had known Fisher for 10 months already and had interviewed Fisher and the child’s mother a “number of times” in connection to an unrelated investigation.

Fisher told Halla that he doesn’t keep or store drugs at his home. Recovering drug addicts agreed to help law enforcement investigate Fisher’s claim, court records say.

The investigation involved multiple controlled buys of drugs and firearms in 2017. On Dec. 21, 2017, when Fisher was arrested, the FBI searched his Forks home.

During the search agents said they recovered a loaded High-Standard Sport King .22 caliber handgun and a Mossberg Model 500A 12-gauge shotgun with a short barrel.

Agents also said they recovered 40 packets of fentanyl patches and other evidence of drug trafficking, including five digital scales.

King said the prescription fentanyl patches agents seized are the most common form of the powerful opioid that law enforcement sees in Clallam County.

On Jan. 2, 2018, a day before the indictment, agents searched Fisher’s truck and said they found 45 grams of methamphetamine and a stolen Smith and Wesson semi-automatic handgun.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].

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