Final defendant sentenced to 10 years in prison for fentanyl scheme

Two were stopped in Thurston County with a $250,000 load of drugs including fentanyl, cocaine and heroin


The final defendant of a two-man drug distribution crew arrested at a rest area in Thurston County in 2021 was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 10 years in prison, U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman announced.

Dustin Carl Wurges, 37, was arrested Nov.  8, 2021, with a large load of drugs, three firearms and three sets of body armor in a Chevrolet Tahoe he was riding in, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The driver of the car, Jonathan Mayhall, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on March 4. At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle said, “fentanyl has become a plague in this community and across the country … We know it has fatal consequences. The quantities that you brought here could well have contained a dose that would have caused someone to die.”

According to records filed in the case, law enforcement became aware of Wurges and Mayhall’s drug activity as they investigated an Aryan prison gang involved in trafficking drugs in the Puget Sound region. In November 2021, the men set up a drug deal with contacts in Southern California. Initially they were taking $50,000 to purchase controlled substances, but when the prices seemed low, they upped their budget by an additional $200,000. As the two men returned from California, law enforcement monitored their progress. At a rest area in Thurston County, Washington law enforcement arrested the men.

In the car, law enforcement seized more than 4 kilograms of fentanyl, nearly 2 kilograms of cocaine, more than a kilogram of heroin, 2-and-a-half kilograms of methamphetamine, two firearms, three ballistic vests, money counters and more than $87,000 in cash.

Law enforcement seized an additional pistol from the purse of a female co-conspirator who was riding in the vehicle.

Wurges entered a guilty plea in the case in October 2023. Both the prosecution and defense agreed to recommend a sentence of 10 years in prison with five years of supervised release to follow prison.

“This is a very serious crime because of the wake of damage it leaves behind,”  Settle said at the sentencing hearing on Tuesday.

The investigation was led by the FBI with investigative teamwork from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations and the Washington state Department of Corrections, and with significant local assistance from the Tacoma Police Department, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force, led by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Zach Dillon and Max Shiner.