prison

SPOKANE - The reported leader of a Grant County gang has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for drug trafficking.

Joshua Isaac Stine, a 34-year-old Ephrata resident, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and heroin, possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of meth, distribution of 50 grams or more of meth and felon in possession of a firearm.

He was sentenced this week to 240 months in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release.

According to federal court records, Stine has been a validated member and leader of the East Side Familia Norteno gang in Grant County. In his role, investigators say Stine engaged in “significant, multi-pound-level, trafficking” of both meth and heroin. Stine also reportedly recruited and trained gang members and distributed narcotics for the gang and himself.

Multiple search warrants were served in June 2019, resulting in multiple pounds of meth and an “arsenal of weapons,” including assault rifles, being found in a “stash house.” Multiple firearms were also found in Stine’s primary home in Ephrata.

During sentencing, the court noted the “entire Moses Lake and surrounding communities are victims of Stine’s choice to engage in serious drug trafficking — feeding countless addictions as well as facilitating the creation of new addicts."

“As a gang member and repeated large scale prolific drug trafficker, Stine caused great harm to so many families and the community,” U.S. Attorney William D. Hyslop stated. “With the court’s significant sentence, Time is now removed from the community and the public is protected from his continued criminal activities — and the inevitable violence that follows the gang subculture from which he refused to separate himself.”

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Border Patrol; the Grant County and Adams County sheriff’s office and police departments in Moses Lake, Ephrata and Othello.