Recidivist Felon Sentenced To More Than 15 Years In Federal Prison After Repeatedly Endangering Community In Moses Lake and Grant County

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Spokane, Washington – Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced today that Senior Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson has sentenced Jeremy Gilbert, 35, of Moses Lake, Washington, to just over fifteen years in federal prison, followed by a four-year term of supervised release.

In August 2021, Gilbert, who has 13 prior adult felony convictions, pled guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, stemming from an incident that occurred in August 2020 in the Grant County area. A homeowner called 911 to report that an unknown male, later identified as Jeremy Gilbert, was passed out in a vehicle in his driveway. Deputies from the Grant County Sheriff’s Office arrived and tried to wake Gilbert. In the vehicle, deputies saw easily-identifiable drug paraphernalia. Concerned that Gilbert was impaired, the deputies blocked Gilbert’s vehicle in the driveway and attempted to rouse him. After several minutes of deputies banging on the vehicle’s windows, Gilbert finally awoke and tried to start his vehicle. Ignoring instructions from the deputies not to do so, Gilbert started the engine and crashed into multiple law enforcement vehicles as he left the driveway. Gilbert then led law enforcement on a high-speed chase through the Moses Lake, Washington, area.

During the pursuit, Gilbert drove his vehicle in an incredibly dangerous manner, including driving the wrong way on Interstate 90, traveling at a high rate of speed through residential areas and school zones, and blowing through multiple stop signs and other traffic control devices. A deputy was eventually able to end the pursuit with a “PIT” maneuver. Gilbert refused repeated commands to exit the vehicle and show his hands, instead remaining in the vehicle and digging around under the driver’s seat. Eventually the window of his vehicle was broken and Gilbert was removed. After being booked into the Grant County Jail, Gilbert made a call to his wife and told her there were drugs in the vehicle.

Law enforcement officers obtained and executed a search warrant on the vehicle, and recovered a loaded firearm with a round in the chamber, under the driver’s seat. The gun had been reported stolen out of Wenatchee, Washington. Officers also recovered approximately 103.33 grams of methamphetamine and drug use paraphernalia.

Gilbert made bail in Grant County, and was contacted again by law enforcement on December 18, 2020, when he abandoned his vehicle and fled after another pursuit with law enforcement. A few days later,  officers with the Moses Lake Police Department located Gilbert and attempted to apprehend him in a traffic stop. Ultimately, they had to use spike strips in multiple locations to disable the Mercedes Benz that Gilbert was driving. Eventually Gilbert crashed the Mercedes into a parking lot and attempted to flee on foot, but was quickly arrested. Gilbert had about 80 grams of methamphetamine on his person.

At the sentencing hearing, Senior Judge Peterson noted Gilbert’s clear drug addiction and the fact that he had purportedly completed treatment three times. The Court indicated concern that despite these repeated opportunities, Gilbert continued his destructive pattern of endangering the community, including law enforcement, and concluded that Gilbert’s persistent pattern demonstrated the need to protect the public from the danger he presents to the community.

“Justice for Mr. Gilbert – and the people of Moses Lake – was finally served today, after years of misconduct, more than a dozen felonies, and repeated scares to community and law enforcement safety,” said United States Attorney Waldref. “It must have been terrifying for other drivers to see him barreling toward them at a high rate of speed in school zones, residential areas, and on the freeway, where he was traveling in the wrong direction. Even after that dangerous conduct and significant evidence of drug crimes, Mr. Gilbert engaged in another dangerous elude-and pursuit with additional methamphetamine on his person after he was granted bond and released pending trial. This significant sentence protects our community. Vehicular tragedy was avoided here only by virtue of the excellent, collaborative work of federal, state, and local law enforcement in Moses Lake and Grant County, and I commend our partnership with ATF, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, and the Moses Lake Police Department.”

“The brazen nature of these cascading crimes truly warrant this significant sentence,” said ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson. “We will always work closely with our state and local law enforcement partners to investigate felons who choose to possess firearms – particularly stolen firearms – when they know they are not supposed to have them.”

Kevin J. Fuhr, Chief of Police for the City of Moses Lake, concurred: “With Mr. Gilbert’s sentencing, the Moses Lake Community will be much safer. We appreciate our longstanding partnerships with the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, ATF, and the US Attorney’s Office. Our agencies will continue to work together to keep the people of Moses Lake and Grant County safe and secure.”

This case was investigated by the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, the Moses Lake Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorney Caitlin Baunsgard of the Eastern District of Washington handled this matter on behalf of the United States.