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News / Northwest

Man sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for dealing large amounts of meth, possessing guns

By Emma Epperly, The Spokesman-Review
Published: February 14, 2024, 10:15am

Spokane — A 33-year-old man, who was convicted by a jury late last year of dealing a large amount of methamphetamine , was sentenced to 15 years in prison Tuesday.

Johnathan Allen, 33, was tearful in court as Senior U.S. District Court Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson sentenced him below the standard range.

In October 2022, Allen messaged with two co-defendants who testified against him about getting 6 ounces of methamphetamine to sell to a buyer, who unbeknownst to them was an undercover agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Then, Allen and another man went to a Spokane Valley Walmart and sold the drugs to the agent. Immediately after, they went to pick up a gun, which Allen wasn’t legally able to possess because he’s a convicted felon.

That gun was later given to a co-defendant to be sold to the undercover agent.

Allen and his co-defendants were indicted in January 2023. A month later, Allen was arrested at Northern Quest Casino with a loaded gun in his possession.

Allen was convicted in November of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Based on his criminal history, dating back to when he was 16, Peterson found the sentencing range was about 20 to 25 years.

Allen’s attorney, Zachary Ayers, asked for a much lower sentence of 10 years, citing his client’s difficult childhood in foster care, homelessness and early drug usage starting at the age of 11.

Ayers also said U.S. attorneys on the case attempted to bully his client into not going to trial.

David Herzog, the assistant U.S. attorney on the case, argued Allen’s consistent violent conduct, including convictions related to an assault with brass knuckles and robbery, is a major concern.

“His prior convictions show a willingness to use violence and endanger others,” Herzog said.

He noted Allen re-offended shortly after being released from jail.

The sentencing guidelines are high, Herzog said, because Allen was convicted of “large-scale” drug dealing.

“That is why his guidelines are high,” Herzog said. “It’s tied to his conduct.”

Herzog asked Peterson to sentence Allen to just over 24 years in prison, at the high end of the sentencing range.

“After this, I just plan to not have to get out and think crime is not the only thing I have to do,” Allen said to the court after tearfully thanking his attorney and his mother, who was in court.

Peterson said she disagreed with some information in both sides’ briefs.

While Allen’s past is relevant, Peterson characterized the prosecution’s argument as “cynical” when they said Allen was likely to re-offend.

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“I am not taking the cynical view that the government seems to present,” she said. “I think there is hope, I think there is possibility.”

She also took issue with the argument that a higher sentence would teach Allen respect for the law. Peterson said respect for the law comes from feeling like your point of view is heard in court.

Peterson sentenced Allen to 15 years in prison and five years of probation, far below the standard sentencing range.

She did not indicate the specific mitigating factors that let to her decision. Peterson did note that even the minimum sentence of 10 years is a long time, and far longer than Allen has ever spent in prison .

“This represents 50% of your life to date, and I know it’s a serious amount of time,” Peterson said. “I think your past does not have to be your future.”