A one-time Crips gang member received a prison sentence of nearly six years for drug dealing on Kent’s East Hill.
U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo S. Martinez sentenced Anthony Colbert, 49, of Seattle, on Friday to five years and 10 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release. Colbert pleaded guilty to the crime in September after his arrest as part of Operation East Watch on the East Hill of Kent.
Police agencies, led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), focused on drug dealing for five months last year in Kent after 29 shots fired incidents early in the year. All eight defendants in Operation East Watch have pleaded guilty. Most have been sentenced and two await sentencing.
Colbert, with prior convictions for assault and robbery, was fresh from a federal prison sentence for drug dealing when he was identified as a key drug conspirator at the Highland Green apartments, 10105 SE 236th St. Colbert tried to hide behind others as he distributed drugs in the community.
At the sentencing hearing, Martinez said Colbert had “an extensive criminal history with very serious offenses – made even worse by the fact that when he committed these crimes he had just gotten off of supervised release.”
“This defendant has already served a total of 25 years in prison for state and federal offenses and now is adding to that unenviable record,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. “The East Watch initiative targeted offenders causing crime and violence in an area that saw 29 shootings in 2018. By taking these habitual offenders out of our communities, we hope to make our neighborhoods safer for all of us.”
“Mr. Colbert’s willingness in conspiring to distribute this deadly drug placed the community at great risk,” said Darek Pleasats, ATF Seattle field special agent in charge. “His actions show contempt for law and order and this sentence is justified by the danger he poses to society.”
According to records filed in the case, just four months after being terminated from supervised release for a 2014 federal conviction for distributing oxycodone and Percocet, Colbert came to the attention of law enforcement. Colbert was identified as the source of supply of methamphetamine for co-defendant Allen Betts III, who distributed the drugs out of his Highland Green apartment complex.
Law enforcement observed Colbert bring the drugs to Betts on multiple occasions before Betts sold the drugs to an undercover agent and a person working with law enforcement.
Betts, 40, of Kent, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and unlawful possession of a firearm and was sentenced last month to four years in prison.
Colbert has criminal history dating back to the 1980s for drug and gun crimes. In 1991, he was sentenced to 65 months in prison for firing shots in a Seattle neighborhood in a turf dispute with another gang. In 1995, within a year of his release from prison, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for robbery. In 2006, while still on state supervision, he illegally possessed a firearm and was sentenced to an additional 70 months in prison. His federal conviction followed with a three-year federal sentence.
All eight defendants in Operation East Watch have pleaded guilty. Two of the eight await sentencing later this year.