Two members of Lummi Nation were sentenced Friday, Feb. 20, in federal court in Seattle for dealing heroin and methamphetamine.
John Jefferson, 37, was sentenced to 3 years, 10 months in prison; his wife, Tanya Jefferson, 45, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute drugs, including heroin and methamphetamine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle.
They were charged in August 2014 following an undercover investigation by the Lummi Nation Police Department and the FBI. In November the two pleaded guilty to the charges, admitting they sold drugs on five different occasions to someone who turned out to be an undercover officer.
“Heroin and methamphetamine trafficking has no place in any of our communities, least of all on tribal lands,” said acting U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes, in a press release. She noted heroin abuse is a growing problem in Western Washington, with an increase in heroin deaths. She has convened a summit to focus community resources on battling opioid abuse.
“I commend the work of our tribal partners, the Lummi, to lead in the effort to prevent heroin use and overdose deaths,” Hayes said.
Lummi police, in partnership with Lummi public health agencies, have been trained to recognized the symptoms of heroin or opiod prescription drug overdose and administer naloxone, an opioid blocker that can prevent overdose deaths. In the first 10 months of the program, officers have successfully administered naloxone in 11 overdose situation, saving lives, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
John Jefferson’s longer sentence stems from his criminal history; he has 59 convictions as an adult on crimes including assault, theft, domestic violence and resisting arrest. Tanya Jefferson has prior convictions for drug dealing and forgery; she is now barred from the Lummi Reservation because of drug dealing, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.