'Significant sentence ... cuts off major source in Central Oregon'
EUGENE, Ore. (KTVZ) —A prolific drug dealer from Madras with a decades-long criminal history was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in federal prison, followed by five years supervised release, U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams said.
On August 8, 2019, Ronald Wayne Thrasher, 50, whose previous convictions include drug manufacturing and distribution, burglary, and illegal firearm possession, was found guilty of conspiring to distribute controlled substances and possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine by a federal jury in Eugene.
“Ronald Thrasher is a dangerous criminal whose drug dealing threatened communities throughout Central Oregon," Williams said in a news release.
"Despite several previous convictions and significant prison sentences, Thrasher repeatedly returned to drug trafficking to provide income for himself, supply his own drug addiction, and bolster his status among rivals.”
“The significant sentence imposed today cuts off a major source of methamphetamine supply in Central Oregon, aiding our collective effort to reverse the state’s addiction crisis,” the U.S. attorney added.
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino said, “DEA is committed to working with our state, local and federal partners at curbing the violence in our communities.”
“This sentence is an important step in our joint mission to disrupt, dismantle, and destroy violent drug trafficking organizations who threaten the very communities we aim to protect,” he added.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms-Seattle Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson said, “Mr. Thrasher’s sentence is fitting for the illegal actions he has taken. ATF will always work to bring to justice those who cause harm in their communities.”
Thrasher was convicted alongside his supplier, Russell Marvin Jones, 54, of Gresham. Prosecutors said both men conspired with one another and others to traffic methamphetamine from Southern California to Central Oregon and the Portland area for distribution.
For his role in the scheme, Jones was sentenced to 200 months in prison and five years’ supervised release. Nine other co-defendants have pleaded guilty to conspiring with Thrasher.
According to court documents and testimony produced at trial, in the spring of 2016, Thrasher became acquainted with several co-defendants who were engaged in trafficking methamphetamine from Santee and San Diego, California, and Portland for resale in Central Oregon.
"Thrasher used these connections to establish a source of supply for his own methamphetamine use and distribution," Thursday's news release said.
In early 2017, after his primary supplier was arrested in Redmond, an associate introduced Thrasher to Jones, a methamphetamine manufacturer and dealer in the Portland area.
Around Feb. 17 of that year, Thrasher traveled to Portland with his associates to meet Jones, who sold Thrasher several pounds of methamphetamine. On March 20, after several more deals, Jones sold Thrasher a stolen firearm.
By April of 2017, Thrasher was distributing methamphetamine via multiple associates throughout Central Oregon, prosecutors said.
On April 9 of that year he was introduced to new California-based methamphetamine suppliers. Two weeks later, Thrasher and an associate drove to Santee to meet with his new suppliers. During this meeting, Thrasher purchased about 13 pounds of methamphetamine.
In May 2017, a Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) Team investigation identified Thrasher as a high-volume methamphetamine supplier and distributor. On May 29 of that year, CODE detectives assisted by a DEA agent arrested Thrasher and seized about 16 pounds of methamphetamine, $16,000 in cash, drug sale records and the stolen firearm from his residence in Madras.
This case was investigated by CODE, DEA, ATF and the Oregon State Police. It was prosecuted 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 attorney’s offices.