‘Top-tier’ drug trafficker sentenced to seven years in prison

Port Angeles woman pleaded guilty to three counts

Marie Haller

Marie Haller

PORT ANGELES — An apologetic Marie Joan Haller was sentenced Thursday to seven years in prison for dealing drugs in the Port Angeles area.

Haller, who was described by law enforcement as a “top-tier” trafficker in Clallam County, pleaded guilty Thursday to three counts of possession with intent to deliver heroin and methamphetamine in two separate Superior Court cases.

A third drug possession with intent to deliver case — and one count of possession with intent to deliver heroin — were dismissed in exchange for Haller’s guilty plea.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge Brian Coughenour sentenced Haller to 84 months as recommended by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Steve Johnson and Defense Attorney Karen Unger.

“First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the law enforcement, the judge, the prosecutor and the legal staff involved in my case and the entire community of Clallam County,” Haller, 31, said in court Thursday.

“I take full responsibility for my actions, and I am aware that this has had an effect on everyone.”

Haller will be on community supervision for one year after her release.

The Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team (OPNET) arrested Haller and others during sweep in May.

Detectives said they found $13,325 in cash, more than 1 pound of heroin and nearly 3 ounces of methamphetamine with a combined street value of almost $68,000 in Haller’s apartment, according to the affidavit for probable cause.

After posting a $50,000 bail bond May 25, Haller continued to make trips to the Interstate 5 corridor and returned to the North Olympic Peninsula with large quantities of drugs, authorities said.

Brian King, Clallam County chief criminal sheriff’s deputy and OPNET supervisor, has said Haller was a “top-tier trafficker and supplier of drugs and controlled substances to Clallam County.”

Johnson, the deputy prosecutor who handled the case, said Haller was convicted of selling drugs in 2013 and “continued to flood our streets with heroin and methamphetamine” in 2019.

“This is something she cannot stop,” Johnson said, citing police reports in Haller’s case.

“It’s not just use. She is addicted to drug dealing, which puts our community at great risk, especially when she is dealing in the amounts that she is.”

Johnson said a seven-year prison sentence was an “appropriate sanction” for Haller.

“She is getting a significant benefit of the bargain here by taking responsibility and pleading guilty,” Johnson added.

Unger read five statements from Haller’s family members and other supporters, some of whom asked the judge to impose a DOSA, or drug offender sentencing alternative, in lieu of prison time.

“From here on out, I am picking up the pieces that are left in my life and doing my best to put them back together again,” Haller told Coughenour.

“Your honor, I am asking for your help. I am a 31-year-old addict. I’m a single mother. I’m just trying to get my life on track.”

Haller said she needed counseling services and asked the judge to impose a DOSA sentence.

Johnson said Haller has previously agreed to an 84-month sentencing recommendation.

“She received a prison DOSA from this court several years ago, and we’re back here again,” Johnson said.

“I do not believe a prison DOSA is appropriate for Ms. Haller.”

Coughenour imposed the agreed recommendation, saying it “makes the most sense.”

Based on Haller’s criminal history, the standard sentencing range was five to 10 years in prison, court papers said.

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