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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Man at center of Spokane police PACT team controversy sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for unrelated drug charge

The Thomas S. Foley United States Courthouse in downtown Spokane as seen on May 21, 2019.  (JESSE TINSLEY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

A 36-year-old Spokane man, who had drug charges against him dropped in 2021 over false statements by Spokane police officers, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison Wednesday in a separate drug case.

Jodie Lee Wallette pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine in August, according to court documents.

“Your distribution of fentanyl and methamphetamine kills people,” U.S. District Court Judge Thomas O. Rice said at the sentencing. “The amount of drugs you had was atrocious.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) used a confidential informant to conduct two recorded drug buys in January and February.

During the January buy, Wallette was carrying a very large bag of crystal methamphetamine in addition to the drugs he sold that day, according to a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington.

In March, Wallette was indicted by a grand jury and a warrant for his arrest was issued. Not long after, Wallette was arrested during a traffic stop.

A search of his car revealed several hundred fentanyl-laced pills, methamphetamine, cocaine, a loaded gun and more than $4,500 in cash. Investigators also found information related to the investigation into Randy James Holmes, the man convicted of shooting an ATF agent in Spokane.

Prior to this arrest, Wallette had multiple prior felony convictions and was labeled as a federal “career offender” based on his prior drug trafficking convictions, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Similar drug charges against Wallette in federal court were dismissed in 2021 after U.S. District Court Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson determined members of SPD’s Police Anti-Crime Team made false statements about a controlled buy.

Spokane police Chief Craig Meidl disbanded the PACT team, which had faced a series of previous controversies, shortly after Peterson’s ruling. The officers were cleared by an internal affairs investigation in May.

By that point, Wallette had already been re-arrested on the new drug charge that he was sentenced for Wednesday.

“Mr. Wallette brought dangerous drugs into our community that put our neighborhoods at risk,” U.S. Attorney Vanessa Waldref said in a news release. “I am grateful for the efforts of our law enforcement partners to identify Mr. Wallette’s repeated drug trafficking activities, to prevent him from further distributing this poison, and to protect our families from drug-related violence.”