The biggest crack cocaine supplier ever caught in Spokane was convicted by a federal jury Friday and faces at least 15 years in prison.
Darryl E. Jackson, 31, formerly of Compton, Calif., was found guilty of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.
After a week-long trial before U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle, the 12-member jury deliberated less than three hours before reaching its unanimous verdict.
“I think this conviction sends a message that crack cocaine dealing is not going to be tolerated on the streets of Spokane,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Skibbie said after the guilty verdict.
Because of the large amount of crack cocaine involved - nearly two pounds - Jackson faces a prison term ranging from 15 to 20 years.
He will remain in jail until sentencing on May 26.
The case against Jackson was developed by a federal-city gang task force. Its members include an agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, who targets drug-dealing felons with guns.
After making three crack purchases last October, an undercover officer made arrangements to trade a handgun for crack from Steven Brown, 25, of Spokane. Because he’s a convicted felon, Brown couldn’t legally possess firearms.
Brown was arrested Oct. 19 by police who immediately followed his girlfriend, Angie Brasch, to the Heatherwood Apartments, N6616 Addison.
There, police arrested Brasch and Jackson in a car where officers found 4.5 grams of crack cocaine.
A subsequent search of an apartment unit turned up almost two pounds of crack - worth an estimated $170,000 - hidden in a freezer compartment.
Police also found $8,500 in cash and personal items belonging to Jackson in the apartment.
The woman who lived there, Tracy Nowacki, was not charged and agreed to testify against Jackson.
Nowacki initially denied knowing about the crack cocaine hidden in her refrigerator, police witnesses testified. Then she changed her story and said the drugs belonged to Jackson.
Nowacki and Brasch, who is Jackson’s former girlfriend, both testified that the crack belonged to Jackson. Police said he’s a gang member who came to Spokane from California to deal drugs.
Such crack dealers, fearful of being watched by police, often hide their drug supplies with friends whom they hope will not draw attention, police say.
In a rare twist to the case, Nowacki’s estranged husband, Brent Nowacki, was located by U.S. marshals Thursday evening after the judge issued a material witness warrant for him.
Brent Nowacki appeared voluntarily in court on Friday. He told court officials that he didn’t show up the previous two days because of a mix-up.
Brent Nowacki testified that he never saw Jackson at Tracy Nowacki’s apartment, even though he often went there to see his daughter after his wife filed for divorce in July 1993.