Ring leader in opioid trafficking scheme sentenced in Tacoma

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TACOMA, Wash. — A Tacoma man accused of leading an opioid trafficking ring that brought pills from Los Angeles to Western Washington has been sentenced to five years in prison.

The News Tribune reports 48-year-old Lionel Lee Hampton Jr., was sentenced Monday by Judge Benjamin Settle.

Hampton pleaded guilty earlier this year in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Investigators stopped Hampton and several other people in 2010 and 2011 and found they were carrying prescription pills.

The federal Drug Enforcement Agency started investigating Hampton and found he regularly made short trips to Los Angeles, determining he was an intermediary between suppliers in California and redistributors in Western Washington.

They arrested Hampton and others in the ring in July 2016.

Hampton told law enforcement he moved about 10,000 pills a month.

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