Bellingham drug ring leader pleads guilty

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SEATTLE — The U.S. attorney's office says a man who led the distribution of heroin and methamphetamine in the Bellingham area pleaded guilty Monday to drug and gun crimes.

As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors are recommending a sentence of 16 to 21 years in prison when 35-year-old Todd Hamilton is sentenced in June in federal court in Seattle.

The U.S. attorney's office says Hamilton recruited a Department of Corrections employee who used his computer access to determine whether police were investigating Hamilton. The employee was convicted as part of a conspiracy in which 14 defendants have pleaded guilty.