Moses Lake man sentenced for shooting ATF agents to cover up drug conspiracy

West Richland, Wenatchee, Prosser, Moses Lake, Walla Walla, College Place, Ellensburg, Benton County, Kennewick, Tri-Cities, Yakima, Eastern Washington

SPOKANE, Wash. — A Moses Lake resident who ran a meth and heroin distribution ring across Yakima and Grant Counties was sentenced to 35 years in prison for his crimes, which include firing a shotgun at four federal agents.

The defendant—Patrick Elliott Pearson, 49, of Moses Lake—was convicted earlier this year, after being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office (Eastern Washington District), for firing a weapon at federal agents amongst other related weapons charges.

On July 16, 2019, various state, local, and federal law enforcement agents converged on Pearson’s compound just outside of Moses Lake. It was later clarified that this compound served as a base of operations for Pearson and his co-defendant, Luis Manuel Farias-Cardenas.

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Among those who converged on the compound were several agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

When specially-trained ATF agents approached his trailer, Pearson fired several rounds of his shotgun at the agents before reloading and resuming.

Evidence shows that Pearson knew where to fire his shotgun because of high-definition security cameras that broadcast onto a large monitor inside the trailer. The agents did not fire back, opting to deploy K9 units since they weren’t sure if anyone else was inside the trailer.

READ: Prosser man to serve 78 months in federal prison for Benton County drug conspiracy

Before being captured by law enforcement, Pearson attempted to end his life with the shotgun. That attempt was unsuccessful, as he was brought into custody and life-flighted to Spokane for emergency medical attention.

“When Mr. Pearson saw on his video screens that ATF was present with a warrant, he simply had to surrender to avoid the most serious charges in this case. Instead, with reckless disregard for human life, he tried to hurt or kill a number of agents,” United States Attorney Vanessa Waldref said. “No other execution of a warrant that morning involved anyone pulling a trigger—only Mr. Pearson shot at law enforcement that day, and it is appropriate that he will spend 35 years in federal prison for doing so.”

During his sentencing hearing, Pearson claimed that he was only trying to scare the agents away by firing his shotgun—a contention that was vehemently denied by District Judge W. Fremming Nielsen. Given the dangerous nature of this operation, Judge Nielsen classified the Moses Lake resident in the highest category of offenders.