Washougal and Kelso men face meth convictions

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

 

A repeat offender from Kelso was convicted after leading police on a high-speed chase and throwing kilo bags of meth into the Cowlitz River in March, 2011.

Jesus Ramirez-Lucio, 32, of Washougal and Steven McCracken, 32, of Kelso will both face a minimum 10 years in prison at their January sentencing for conspiracy to distribute meth, according to a bulletin from U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. Ramirez-Lucio was also convicted of distributing meth, and McCracken was convicted of possessing meth with intent to deliver.

McCracken has been convicted three other times for distributing meth in 1999, 2002 and 2006.

In March, someone working with police told the Clark-Skamania Drug Task Force that the pair was planning a drug deal, according to trial records. When they met at a Kelso home March 25, 2011, McCracken gave Ramirez-Lucio more than $34,000 for three pounds of meth.

After the deal, officers followed the men as they left the house in separate cars. Police pulled over McCracken on Interstate 5, but as an officer approached the driver’s window, McCracken pulled out into traffic, leading police on a high-speed chase, the bulletin said.

When McCracken got to the Route 432 bridge, he pulled to the side of the road, leaving the car running, and threw bags of meth into the Cowlitz River. Police arrested McCracken and fished out the bags of meth floating in the river. All of the bags were damaged except for one.

Ramirez-Lucio was arrested as he drove to Vancouver with the drug money in a shopping bag in his car, the bulletin said.

The FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Narcotics Task Force and the Clark Vancouver Regional Drug Task Force helped investigate this case.