Bellingham man gets 20 years for running drug ring

SEATTLE (AP) - A Bellingham man has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for leading a drug ring that trafficked heroin and methamphetamine.

U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan said the defendant, 36-year-old Todd Hamilton, ran the area's most widespread illegal drug enterprise and assaulted or threatened to assault some of his most vulnerable, addicted customers to get his way.

Court records show that Hamilton began running the ring after he was released from state prison in 2011, and that he would buy from a supplier in Olympia.

Prosecutors also said he recruited a state Department of Corrections worker to tip him off to whether police were investigating him. The now-former DOC worker has also been convicted in the conspiracy.