Gang member headed to prison

SEATTLE — The third gang member busted last year in a federal drug sting is headed to prison for 5 1/2 years.

Investigators alleged that Jonathan Tavares was the driving force behind a drug-trafficking operation that peddled prescription painkillers for years on the streets of Snohomish County.

Tavares, 25, and two fellow gang members were indicted on drug charges last year, a day before federal agents, detectives with the Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force and Everett SWAT members raided three houses.

The raids, two in Everett and one on the Tulalip Indian Reservation, were the culmination of a three-year investigation into illegal drug sales.

The police searches netted 400 pills of suspected oxycodone, a prescription painkiller. Investigators also seized six handguns, including one that was stolen, and seven vehicles.

The Waco Boys gang had sold more than 1,400 pills to undercover cops and confidential informants since 2007, according to the federal indictment. Many of those sales were worth thousands of dollars on the street.

Tavares “was buying pills by the 1,000-pill lot and selling them,” prosecutors said Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

He also had dealings with another drug-trafficking ring, authorities said.

Tavares “was the main source of this OxyContin,” and the “leading force in the area,” U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik said Friday.

Once released from prison, Tavares will be under federal supervision for five years. The Everett man has a lengthy criminal history in Snohomish County.

Two fellow gang members, Ryan Nicely and Jose Lugo, were sentenced last month to lengthy federal prison stays for their roles in the drug operation.

Meanwhile, two other Waco Boys are headed to state prisons. A jury on Monday convicted Eric “Icky” Lowe of first-degree murder for the Aug. 13 shooting death of a suspected heroin dealer at the Bluffs Apartments on W. Casino Road. He is facing more than 38 years in prison.

Jeffrey “J Kizzel” Cleator Jr. was sentenced last week to 14 years in prison for his part in the fatal home-invasion robbery.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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