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Suspected drug dealer sentenced to almost two years in prison

By NATALIE MARTIN

A man who’s been called Vashon’s top methamphetamine dealer has been sentenced to 22 months in prison.

Richard Arthur Grant, 48, was sentenced in King County Superior Court last Wednesday after being convicted in April of two counts of possession of methamphetamine. The charges stemmed from two arrests in May of last year. Both times Grant was arrested on warrants, and both times he was found to possess small amounts of methamphetamine.

The sentence is welcome news to Grant’s neighbors, who say they have long suffered from constant suspected drug activity and related crime that centers around Grant’s home near the Vashon Airport.

Heightened attention fell on Grant in 2012, when the body of a missing woman was found in a pond near his house. The King County Sheriff’s Office ruled her death an accident resulting from an overdose of methamphetamine. Neighbors grew increasingly frustrated last year when Grant had a more serious drug charge — possession with the intent to sell — thrown out because of a technicality.

“We’re very happy to have a sentence near the upper end of what’s he’s being incarcerated for,” said Frank Shipley, who lives by Grant. He and others in the area have said that they hope when Grant goes to prison, his off-island family will evict other people who are living in the home, which is owned by his mother, and clean up the place.

“Our hope in the neighborhood is that the family will take this opportunity to help the community resolve the problem now that Richard is incarcerated,” Shipley said.

Kelly Wald, who also lives near Grant, said she too is thankful that he is going to prison this time, though she is unsure what will happen next at the house. She credited local sheriff’s deputies for their diligence in arresting Grant.

“It’s the best we could have hoped for, rather than to have him go free,” she said.

Paul Sewell, a deputy prosecuting attorney for King County, said he is aware of the problems surrounding Grant’s home and touched on them in court.

“It wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill drug possession case. We understood it had some secondary and tertiary effects for your community,” he said.

Two of Grant’s neighbors also spoke to the judge at a recent court appearance, and several wrote letters, something Sewell said he believes likely influenced the judge’s decision.

“It let the court know it wasn’t just about Mr. Grant possessing some meth. It was about the effect he’s had on the lives of people around him,” Sewell said.

Sewell said Grant had requested a shorter sentence in exchange for joining a drug treatment program, something the judge denied. Grant plans to appeal the conviction, he said, but the judge set his appeal bond at $50,000. The high amount means it’s less likely Grant will be let out of prison before the appeal.

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