Repeat offender sentenced to 8+ years in prison for dealing drugs in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood
Carried a handgun loaded with hollow point bullets
SEATTLE – A repeat offender, who was arrested in Pioneer Square armed with a concealed pistol with hollow point bullets, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 101 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Jonathan Rushing, 40, was convicted in October 2019 following a three-day trial for possession of crack cocaine and MDMA with intent to distribute, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. This is Rushing’s fourth conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm. “I think you are a threat to the community,” U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly said at sentencing. “We know that if you have possession of a gun and you are doing drugs, bad things can happen. You know that better than anyone in this courtroom.”
Rushing was identified during an investigation into a drug distribution ring operating in downtown Seattle on the evening of Nov. 8, 2017. Rushing was observed meeting with known members of the drug distribution group and then returning to the passenger side of a car he had parked near Pioneer Square. After sitting on the passenger side of the sedan near the glove box for about 20 minutes, Rushing went to a bar in Pioneer Square. When Rushing left the bar, uniformed Seattle police officers approached Rushing in order to identify him. Rushing took off running but was arrested a few blocks away. Rushing had a Glock firearm in a holster inside his waistband. The Glock had a laser sight and flashlight attached and was loaded with hollow point bullets. When authorities searched the car Rushing was driving, they found dealer amounts of crack cocaine and MDMA hidden in a sock in the glove box.
After Rushing was arrested that November night, he left the Seattle area and was a fugitive when the drug trafficking organization was indicted on Feb. 13, 2018. Rushing was ultimately arrested in February 2019 in Moreno Valley, California, on a warrant from the U.S. Marshals Service. Rushing fought with local officers who subdued him following a traffic stop.
Rushing has an extensive criminal history, including a 1997 conviction at age 18 in King County Superior Court for second-degree murder. Rushing shot and killed another 18-year-old in downtown Seattle during a drug transaction. He has King County convictions for illegally possessing firearms in 1996 and1997 and a federal conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm from 2012. Rushing was arrested in this case only two months after completing his term of supervision from his 2012 federal conviction for firearm possession.
This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved.
The case was investigated by the Seattle Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence and enhances coordination of federal, state, local and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes. Project Guardian ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. More information about Project Guardian is here.
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