A Kennewick man is heading to federal prison for 15 years after he was caught twice with a “distribution” level of methamphetamine.
Senior Judge Edward F. Shea sentenced Anthony J. Cortinas, 49, this week in U.S. District Court in Richland.
Kennewick police first caught up with Cortinas when an officer stopped a Suzuki XL7 for broken tail lights in May 2015, according to court records. Cortinas was a passenger wanted on an outstanding warrant.
Officers also saw a needle on the center console. The driver denied the needle and three bags belonged to him. Officers later found a safe, disguised as a dictionary, in one of the bags.
When the officer searched the items taken from Cortinas, they found the key to the safe. The safe contained more than 50 grams of methamphetamine.
Less than four months later, Kennewick police again found Cortinas in the passenger seat of a car stopped for a traffic violation. Again, officers found a safe with methamphetamines in a bag in the car.
Cortinas plead guilty in February to intent to distribute meth.
Shea noted Cortinas’ lengthy history of distributing drugs and the impact on the community when ordering the sentence, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“I commend the Kennewick Police Department officers and the FBI special agents for their efforts in investigating this drug trafficking case,” Acting U.S. Attorney Joseph Harrington said in a news release. “Federal and local law enforcement officers in the eastern district of Washington continue to work together to root out the scourge of drug trafficking in this district.”