Crime

Former Montesano police chief in Pierce County drug court; accused of selling meth, heroin

A former Montesano police chief had a busy day in court, after he was arrested Tuesday for the second time this year in Tacoma.

Ray Sowers attended his drug court hearing at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. He was there because of January charges that he stole more than $1,500 in liquor from a grocery store.

At 1:30 p.m. the same day he pleaded not guilty to new accusations that he’s been trying to sell methamphetamine and heroin.

Pierce County sheriff’s deputies searched the 51-year-old’s apartment Tuesday as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation, according to charging papers.

They found 158 grams of suspected meth, 38.2 grams of heroin, a loaded 9mm handgun, crib notes and a digital gram scale, the court documents state.

Sowers allegedly told investigators he didn’t use the drugs, but admitted selling them.

As a convicted felon he cannot legally own the handgun, prosecutors said.

The search of the apartment left Sowers charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, two counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, and bail set at $50,000.

Possessing controlled substances violates the rules of drug court, which means Sowers has a hearing Oct. 14 to determine whether he’s kicked out of the program.

His second-degree theft charge for the liquor incident would be dropped if he completed the drug court program successfully. People kicked out instead face sentencing, and prosecutors asking for the high end of the sentencing range for the crime.

Sowers ended a 26-year career in law enforcement in 2010, when he pleaded guilty to charges that he used department credit cards to buy $17,000 in home electronics and other items.

He was sentenced to six months in jail for that crime.

The public defender for Sowers, Joseph Evans, declined to comment on his behalf Thursday.

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