It was announced on Wednesday by the Justice Department that on Friday, May 15th, a Bellingham man was sentenced to 8.6 years in federal prison on his conviction for Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin ans Money Laundering.
Bellingham resident Peter M. Thornton must, in addition to his prison sentence, forfeit $24,300 representing property involved in the drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracies and be subject to five years of supervised release. The cash payment is a substitution for his Bellingham home.
Court documents state that Thornton began distributing heroin in the Fairbanks area to support his own habit and to make extra money as early as 2008. But, by 2011, Thorton was operating out of his home in Bellingham, Washington and using couriers to transport heroin to Fairbanks for distribution.
Prosecutors contended that Thornton would pay for tickets for couriers to carry drugs on their person or would send the heroin through the mail. Once the heroin was re-distributed, Thornton had the couriers andd distributors deposit the proceeds from the drug sales into various bank accounts in Alaska that he controlled. From September 2010 until December 2013, it was shown in court that Thornton had funneled over $300,000 in drug proceeds through those accounts.
The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force that was comprised of criminal investigators with the IRS,, DEA and the North Pole Police Department reported that drugs and cash were discovered in the Bellingham home.