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Tacoma man charged for allegedly dealing fentanyl at notorious crime hotspot

The Tacoma Police Department says it’s working to help residents write a new chapter for Hosmer Street.

TACOMA, Wash. — This week, a Tacoma man was charged in federal court with possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.

Peter King was arrested on Wednesday through a joint operation between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Tacoma Police Department.

The US district court for Western Washington alleges that King operated out of the EconoLodge on South Hosmer Street in May and July, and sold hundreds of suspected fentanyl pills to a criminal informant on two separate occasions for $1,375 in total.

At the time of his arrest, authorities say that they also uncovered three firearms, body armor and ammunition in King’s hotel room.

US attorney Nick Brown says the dangers that come with fentanyl can’t be dismissed.

“When you do have a particular problem like Tacoma’s experiencing on Hosmer Street, you can’t ignore that conduct,” Brown said. “Fentanyl, in particular, presents a very unique danger. We’re seeing a massive increase in overdose deaths, across this district, across our country, driven largely from people using fentanyl and people not understanding the unique danger that comes with fentanyl.”

The arrest is just the latest police activity to address high crime along South Hosmer Street.

“There have been five homicides there this year, we’ve received multiple reports of drug dealing, human trafficking, prostitution, and a number of related crimes,” said Lt. Jeff Katz of the Tacoma Police Department. “My hope is that this [arrest] will do quite a bit to remediate some of that.”

Dalyn Phengsavanh lives and works near the EconoLodge, and says just passing by can be stressful.

“I’ll be walking on the other side of the street, head down, looking away, because you don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said.

The impact on the wider community is why Lieutenant Jeff Katz says it’s important for Tacoma Police to find long-term solutions to crime.

Katz says that after King was taken into custody, the Tacoma Police Department began looking into how to help the people still living in the hotel, both lawfully or unlawfully, find ways to move forward.

Personnel from the Community Policing Division joined with other resource providers on Thursday to connect some of the tenants to stable housing.

The approach falls in line Tacoma Police Chief Avery Moore’s crime plan unveiled in July, which puts an emphasis on finding more comprehensive strategies for crime prevention.

Katz says this kind of follow-up is critical in not only stopping crime but preventing it from happening again.

“That starts with getting people that commit violent crimes off the streets, but that has to extend to offering services and outreach to the communities that are affected by those things,” Katz said. “If we don’t get into the specifics of why violent crime occurs in certain areas, we’re really just coming in at the end, holding people accountable for things that they’ve done, which is great, but we also need to make sure that we uplift the community that has been impacted as well.”

Sage Investment Group, who owns the Econolodge, sent a statement to KING 5 earlier today that says, in part, that they are excited to see the attention being paid to the area, and that they have plans to turn the motel into affordable housing, but the crime has hampered their efforts.

Phengsavanh says that she appreciates the increased police presence and activity in the area, and hopes it will continue.

“This neighborhood could be great because there are great people that are still here,” she said. “I feel like if we keep getting out the bad and bringing in the good, and try and be there for one another, that’d be great.”


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