Violent Tri-City gang member heading back to federal prison for fentanyl trafficking
A gang member with a history of violence will be off the Tri-Cities streets after being sentenced to 12 years and seven months in federal prison for having fentanyl he planned to sell.
Jose Oliva Jr., 37, is appealing his sentence, which also includes five years of probation after his prison sentence, according to court documents.
A member of the Sureno Florencia 64th Street gang, Oliva was brokering pound-level quantities of methamphetamine for a drug trafficking organization operating in the Tri-Cities.
He ran from police when they tried to arrest him, tossing a loaded 9mm handgun, 258 fentanyl pills and 6 grams of methamphetamine into a field, according to court documents.
Police also found a fraudulent Social Security card and driver’s license he appeared to be using under the name of Jose Antonio Flores.
Oliva previously had sold a pound of meth to a cooperating defendant and police arrested him when he met to collect the money for another pound of meth, which he did not have with him, according to court documents.
U.S. Judge Mary Dimke agreed to the sentence of more than 12 years requested by the prosecution, while Oliva’s attorney requested a sentence of seven years.
“(Oliva’s) conduct during this investigation is serious and exasperated by his significant and violent criminal history,” said assistant U.S. attorney Stephanie Van Marter in a court document.
He plans to continue to be active in gang activity while in prison, and has shown no desire to end his criminal lifestyle, she said in a court document.
“Of greater significance to the court, is defendant was not only in possession of deadly fentanyl laced pills, but he was also in possession of a loaded firearm,” she said.
He placed himself, law enforcement and the public at risk when he ran from police with a loaded gun and he also possessed another gun, based on the different caliber ammunition that was seized in his hotel room and car, she said.
As a felon, he was not allowed to have a firearm.
Oliva’s history includes other times he ran from the police, including assaulting police when they tried to arrest him, according to court documents.
“Defendant’s history of assaultive behavior and domestic assault is very troubling,” Van Marter said in a court document. “This is even more aggravated in light of the fact that defendant has engaged in two separate acts of assault while in custody pending these charges.”
Tri-Cities criminal history
Oliva’s history of felony arrests in the Tri-Cities area stretches back to 2001 when he was a juvenile, and he has been sentenced to incarceration previously.
In 2016 he was sentenced to 1 year and 10 months in prison for second degree extortion after he hacked into a woman’s social media accounts and posted a secretly recorded video of them having sex.
He was accused of changing her passwords to deny her access and telling her he would remove the images if she bought the accounts back from him.
In other cases he was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison for possessing drugs in 2018 and sentenced to 13 months after 2013 charges of second degree assault by strangulation and interfering with domestic violence reporting.
Oliva has been treated for substance abuse twice, and said that a significant substance use disorder has caused hallucinations, according to court documents.
Oliva’s attorney, Zachary Ayers, said Oliva’s goal in prison is to enroll in as many courses as possible with a goal of learning welding and electrician skills. He wants to keep busy and stay drug free, his attorney said.
The U.S. attorney for Eastern Washington, Vanessa Waldref, said she was grateful for the many law enforcement agencies that identified Oliva as a drug trafficker and worked to prevent him “from further distributing this poison in our community.”
“Removing dangerous narcotics from our community is critical to protecting our families and building stronger and safer neighborhoods,” she said.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tri-Cities office, the Tri-City Metro Drug Task Force, Border Patrol, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, and the Richland, Kennewick, Pasco and West Richland police departments.