Drug dealer who attempted to intimidate a witness with an explosive device, and assaulted fellow inmate, sentenced to 8+ years in prison

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Tacoma – A drug dealer who tried to use an explosive device to stop a witness from testifying about his criminal activity was sentenced last week to 100 months in prison, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. David Nathaniel Hoffman, 38, pleaded guilty April 13, 2021, to three counts of possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute and one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury.  At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle called Hoffman’s conduct “extremely disturbing.”

“This defendant was not just spreading poisons in our community, he tried to use fear and intimidation to thwart being brought to justice,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gorman.  “Such conduct – using an explosive to damage a witness’ car– resulted in a longer federal sentence.”

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According to records filed in the case, Hoffman was caught three times by law enforcement with distribution quantities of narcotics.  In November 2017, Hoffman was on Department of Corrections supervision and was found to have methamphetamine and heroin in his Olympia residence.  In January 2019, following a traffic stop, Hoffman was found to have methamphetamine in his car.  And in September 2019, Hoffman was stopped in Shelton, Washington and was found to have methamphetamine, various narcotic pills and an improvised explosive device in his car.

In his plea agreement, Hoffman admitted that before he was taken into federal custody in November 2019, he had confronted and threatened a person with knowledge of his drug dealing and had an associate use an explosive device to damage a car outside the person’s home.  Further, in the plea agreement he also admitted he assaulted a fellow inmate at the FDC causing serious facial and head injuries.

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In asking for a sentence at the high end of the guidelines range, Assistant United States Attorney Kate Crisham wrote in her sentencing memo, “Hoffman’s attempt to intimidate a potential witness against him by detonating a bomb on a car in front of her home strikes at the heart of our criminal justice system…. his behavior was intended to weaken our criminal justice system’s delicate reliance on witnesses.  His conduct was egregious.”

Hoffman has been in custody since his arrest on November 19, 2o19.

Following prison, he is to serve three years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, and the Washington State Department of Corrections. The FBI investigated the assault at the Federal Detention Center. 

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The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kate Crisham and Ye-Ting Woo.

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