Figure in alleged cocaine ring accepts reduced plea, will testify against others

PORT ANGELES — Another of the 11 people arrested in what authorities have deemed a local drug ring has pleaded guilty to delivering cocaine.

Sam Paxton’s plea on Wednesday to a reduced number of charges comes in exchange for his providing information against alleged ringleader Bernard “Pete” Barnes and other co-defendants who will face trials in the coming months.

“I do apologize to the court, the people of Clallam County and to my family most of all,” Paxton, 47, told Clallam County Superior Court Judge George Wood on Wednesday afternoon before the judge imposed his sentence.

Paxton will spend two years and two months in prison, with credit for time he has already served, followed by nine months to a year in community custody, which is what Prosecuting Attorney Deb Kelly recommended.

He will begin serving his sentence next Wednesday.

Terms of agreement

Under the plea agreement, Paxton will testify against others arrested in the case and will provide information to support allegations of Barnes leading organized crime.

Paxton has already made a videotaped statement, Kelly said.

His pleas to two counts of delivery of a controlled substance come nearly 1½ years after Paxton was first arrested in an Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team raid that also netted his brother, Tom Paxton, Barnes, and two others in November 2003.

Five others were arrested in subsequent days.

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