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A 32-year-old man was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison on Wednesday after being arrested with about 24 pounds of fentanyl at a Spokane Valley motel in March last year

Jordy Deboer wept as Judge Thomas O. Rice sentenced him. His family sobbed quietly in the gallery.

Deboer and his lawyer David Miller described his “horrific” childhood in court. His mother was married several times and each stepfather brought a new form of abuse, Miller wrote in court documents.

Deboer told the judge that he started taking methamphetamine when he was 17.

“I had a very difficult childhood,” he said.

He went to prison at age 20, and when he got out in 2015, he turned his life around, Deboer said. At church, he met a woman who is now his fiancée, and for the past decade helped her raise their young daughter while he worked in the concrete industry.

Then the couple suffered a relapse, he said.

“I went down the wrong path,” Deboer said through tears. “I thought I had control, but I lost it.”

In April 2022, Deboer was arrested while smuggling drugs for a drug trafficking organization in the Tri-Cities. Federal agents found over a pound of methamphetamine and several thousand pills laced with fentanyl.

After being charged in federal court, Deboer told the judge that he wanted to undergo drug treatment while awaiting trial.

He was released for inpatient treatment and then transferred to a rehab facility in Spokane, where he violated the terms of his release and was returned to federal custody, according to court records. He was released again for treatment in December 2022.

Shortly thereafter, FBI agents learned that Deboer had started dealing drugs again.

Deboer told the judge that he wanted to change but did not realize how strong the attraction of fentanyl and meth was to him.

In March 2023, an informant purchased half a pound of meth and 1,000 fentanyl pills. The man who delivered the drugs for Deboer was Matthew Sailors, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his involvement in the crimes.

A few days later, officers were about to search Deboer’s hotel room at a Motel 6 in Spokane Valley when they encountered Deboer in the motel’s stairwell.

He was arrested with nearly $12,000 in cash, a gun and kilos of drugs.

In January, he pleaded guilty to possession of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in connection with the 2022 arrest and possession of 400 grams or more of fentanyl with intent to distribute in connection with the 2023 arrest.

The prosecution argued that Deboer should be sentenced to a prison term of just over 24 years. Given his difficult childhood, but also his repeated crimes, this is less than the usual sentence of 30 years to life imprisonment, according to court documents.

Deboer’s lawyer argued that he should be sentenced to 12 years in prison, which is slightly more than the sentence given to his co-defendant. He argued that the slightly harsher sentence took into account Deboer’s additional crime, but that the prosecutor’s recommendation was too harsh given his difficult childhood and desire to change.

Ultimately, Rice sentenced Deboer to 272 months in prison, or just over 22 years.