Suspected Puyallup drug dealer faces life in prison without parole

Staff writerApril 3, 2014 

A suspected drug dealer is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole after police allegedly caught him with a gun and drugs while he awaits trial on similar charges.

Jeremy Gaines, 35, of Puyallup pleaded not guilty Wednesday to two counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with a firearm-sentencing enhancement and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Pierce County prosecutors said the firearm sentencing would be Gaines’ third strike. He has 12 prior felony convictions for assault, burglary and weapons charges, court records show.

Prosecutors asked for $1 million bail at the arraignment, calling Gaines a flight risk with two cases pending that would give him a third strike. Superior Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered Gaines jailed in lieu of $750,000 bail.

The first case started in June after sheriff’s deputies fingered Gaines as a methamphetamine dealer during an undercover operation. When they pulled him over in his Dodge Caravan to serve a search warrant, deputies said they saw Gaines place a .45 caliber handgun on the floorboard between his feet.

They found $657 in cash in his car and two bulletproof vests, ammunition for various guns and meth in his home, according to charging papers.

Gaines allegedly told detectives he ran drugs for Mexicans south of the border and asked the detective to make “all of this go away,” records show. The detective declined.

After he was charged in that case, prosecutors requested $300,000 bail. It was set at $150,000 and Gaines soon posted bail and was released.

He ran into trouble again in December after deputies arrested him for allegedly trying to kick in the door of a house. Gaines allegedly told detectives he went there to use meth and heroin but no drugs were found in the house, according to court records.

Gaines was not charged with that burglary but prosecutors expressed concern that “the defendant’s behavior violates the conditions of his release and he cannot be trusted to maintain sobriety and law-abiding behavior.”

Gaines was again arrested Monday after an acquaintance called 911 to report that Gaines had shot at a friend’s car. Deputies spotted Gaines driving and stopped him. In the vehicle was a rubber glove with six rounds of ammunition for a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, which was also found in the car beside marijuana.

Gaines initially denied knowledge of the gun and drugs but then started crying, charging papers state.

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