Jury finds meth trafficker guilty
In a drug trafficking case that extended from Southern California to Central Oregon and the Portland area, a Madras man, Ronald Wayne Thrasher, 49, was found guilty Aug. 9, of purchasing and transporting methamphetamine for distribution.
U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced Monday that a federal jury in Eugene had found two men guilty, Thrasher and Thrasher's supplier, Russell Marvin Jones, 53, of Gresham, who was found guilty of selling methamphetamine and possessing a stolen firearm. Both men were also found guilty of being felons in possession of a firearm.
Thrasher and Jones have each served time in prison for past convictions. Thrasher served time in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm and Jones in Oregon state prison for first-degree manslaughter.
Nine co-defendants have previously pleaded guilty to conspiring with Thrasher to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and are awaiting sentencing: Jordan Michael Johnson, 57, of San Diego, California; Brenda Ann Lederman, 46, of Santee, California; Jason James Puckett, 46, of Prineville; Thrasher's son, Tyler Wayne Fuller, 30, Renee Marie Scarlett, 48, and Talina Shantel Ortiz, 45, all of Madras; Jacklin Renee Bowlby, 36, of Bend; Kerry Wayne Hopson, 33, of Redmond; and Mistie Dawn Cooper, 39, of Alfalfa.
Fuller also pleaded guilty to robbing a bank in Madras.
According to court documents and testimony produced at trial, in spring 2016, Thrasher became acquainted with multiple co-defendants who were engaged in trafficking methamphetamine from Santee, San Diego and Portland for resale in Central Oregon. Thrasher used those connections to establish a source of supply for his own methamphetamine use and distribution.
In early 2017, after his primary supplier was arrested in Redmond, an associate introduced Thrasher to Jones, a methamphetamine manufacturer, dealer and user in the Portland area. On or about Feb. 17, 2017, Thrasher traveled to Portland with his associates to meet Jones. During that meeting, Jones sold Thrasher several pounds of methamphetamine. On March 20, 2017, after several additional methamphetamine deals, Jones sold Thrasher a stolen firearm.
By April 2017, Thrasher was distributing methamphetamine via multiple associates throughout Central Oregon. On April 9, 2017, he was introduced to new California-based methamphetamine suppliers including Stevens. Two weeks later, Thrasher and an associate drove to Santee to meet with his new suppliers. During that meeting, Thrasher purchased approximately 13 pounds of methamphetamine from Stevens.
In May 2017, a Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team investigation identified Thrasher as a high-volume methamphetamine supplier and distributor. On May 29, 2017, CODE detectives, assisted by a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, arrested Thrasher and seized approximately 16 pounds of methamphetamine, $16,000 in cash, records of drug sales and the stolen firearm from his residence in Madras.
Thrasher and Jones will be sentenced Feb. 4, 2020, and Nov. 14, 2019, respectively, before U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane.
The case was investigated by CODE, DEA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Oregon State Police. It was prosecuted by Frank R. Papagni Jr. and Judi Harper, assistant U.S. attorneys for the District of Oregon, with the assistance of the Jefferson, Crook and Deschutes County district attorneys' offices.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.