Police: Traffic stop leads to drugs, stolen gun

Sequim man arrested on investigation of charges

PORT ANGELES — A routine traffic stop for alleged speeding led to the arrest of a 55-year-old felon for investigation of drug-dealing and weapons charges.

Kenneth Francis Simmons’ Toyota Tacoma pickup truck contained 3 ounces of methamphetamine street-valued at $17,000, a digital scale and a stolen 9 mm handgun, according to a Clallam County deputy who made the traffic stop late Friday evening.

Simmons, convicted in 2016 for possessing two pipe bombs, had his first Superior Court appearance Monday for investigation of six drug and weapons charges.

“He’s a significant dealer of meth on the Peninsula,” Brian King of the Sheriff’s Office said Monday, specifying both Clallam and Jefferson counties.

Simmons had been the target of an ongoing investigation by the Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team, King said.

“Over time, we were able to develop an informant that could assist us basically in dismantling his drug operation.”

Bail of $250,000 was set Monday on counts of delivery of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a school-zone enhancement; unlawful possession of a firearm; possession of a stolen firearm and third-degree driving while license suspended.

Simmons, who is unemployed and, according to county records, owns a $263,000 home on Crownview Lane, said in court that he could not afford legal counsel and obtained the services of Clallam Public Defender.

A hearing was set for 1 p.m. Wednesday for the filing of charges.

King said OPNET has had an active investigation against Simmons dating to the beginning of 2019.

Four undercover drug buys, plus the 85.5 grams of methamphetamine seized at 11 p.m. Friday, have netted 198 grams, or more than half a pound, King said.

One buy alone was for a quarter pound of a drug that sells by the gram for $60-$80.

Simmons may face federal drug trafficking charges as a result of his arrest, King said.

Simmons was driving 57 mph in a 40-mph zone when Deputy Don Kitchen caught him on radar gun and stopped his vehicle, according to the probable cause statement.

Simmons initially was found to be driving without insurance while his license was suspended, Kitchen said.

While searching Simmons’ vehicle, Kitchen found the stolen handgun out of Lakewood, which was loaded, and which Simmons was not allowed to possess due to five felonies, according to court documents and information presented Monday in court.

Kitchen also found a full 15-round magazine of 9 mm ammunition, the 85.5 grams of methamphetamine, a Weighmax digital scale and 17 plastic baggies.

Simmons pleaded guilty April 7, 2016 to second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm for being a felon in possession of a .22-caliber rifle on Jan. 8, 2016. He said the gun was for shooting rats, according to the probable cause statement.

He also pleaded guilty to not having a license for explosives for possessing two loaded pipe bombs, which were found at his Crownview Lane residence.

He said the pipe bombs were not intended to hurt anyone, according to the probable cause statement.

Judge Brent Basden set the $250,000 bail requested by Michele Devlin of the prosecuting attorney’s office.

Simmons’ criminal history includes two previous convictions for delivery of methamphetamine and five convictions for driving under the influence of intoxicants.

Devlin argued Simmons could be a flight risk given the potential for federal charges against him.

“Since February 2019, but for OPNET’s assistance and the assistance [Friday] of him being pulled over, Mr. Simmons has tried to put ounces of methamphetamine out on the streets of Port Angeles and Sequim,” Devlin said.

King said OPNET had planned to continue making undercover drug buys until Simmons was caught allegedly speeding.

“Because of this traffic stop and the quantity [of methamphetamine], and because we recovered a stolen gun, which was unlawfully possessed, we felt we had enough to conclude the investigation,” King said.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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