Tacoma – Prosecutors charged a resident of Tacoma, Washington with possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl in U.S. District Court in Tacoma today, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. The arrest of Paul Darnell King, 23, and subsequent criminal charges resulted from a joint operation between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Tacoma Police Department (TPD).
According to the complaint, King was brought to the attention of law enforcement by a confidential informant. King, a reported gang member, was a frequent resident of the Econo Lodge located on South Hosmer Street in Tacoma, Washington. South Hosmer Street has become a center of gun violence, human trafficking, and drugs in recent years, with five homicides reported in the area since the beginning of the year.
The complaint alleges that agents observed King selling counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl in May and July out of the Econo Lodge. King was later arrested three times between July and August, each time in possession of distribution quantities of fentanyl and an unregistered firearm.
ATF conducted a series of undercover operations at the Econo Lodge in mid-August, during which King was seen numerous times engaging in what appeared to be drug trafficking behavior.
King was arrested on September 7 in a joint operation by ATF and the Tacoma Police Department at the Econo Lodge. Officers executed a search warrant on his hotel room, during which they uncovered three firearms, body armor, ammunition, and substances believed to be fentanyl.
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Possession with the intent to distribute this amount of fentanyl is punishable by a mandatory minimum ten years in prison.
The case was investigated by ATF and the Tacoma Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kristine Foerster.