Crime

Lakewood body shop owner gets 10 years for dealing meth

Up until last year, James E. Roberts owned a body shop in Lakewood called Restore and More.

Turns out the “more” included methamphetamine, federal officials said.

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan on Friday sentenced Roberts to 10 years in prison after the 45-year-old man pleaded guilty in October to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Federal agents said Roberts distributed meth for “an extremely dangerous Mexican-based drug dealer” named Jesus Enrique Palomero.

Palomero has been arrested in Mexico and is awaiting extradition to the United States to face charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle said in a news release. He faces a 17-count indictment in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, including running a criminal enterprise and drug distribution.

Federal agents contend he distributed meth up and down the West Coast, including in Tacoma.

“Highlighting the danger of the meth ring, prosecutors noted that one of the co-conspirators is missing and presumed dead after a load was seized by law enforcement,” according to the news release.

Federal prosecutors also said Roberts supervised others in dealing meth in the Tacoma area and personally sold meth. In 2014, the Restore and More operation dealt at least 1,500 grams of the highly addictive drug, court records show.

“Roberts arranged to remit some of the proceeds to the leader of the conspiracy in Mexico,” federal prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

Defense attorney Tracey Munger did not argue against the 10-year sentence recommended by prosecutors but asked that her client be enrolled in a drug-treatment program in prison.

Bryan granted that request.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644, @TNTAdam

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