Ex-Bellingham scientist sentenced for dealing heroin

A former Bellingham water-quality scientist who turned to heroin dealing during his descent from a lavish lifestyle was sentenced Thursday, Dec. 9, to a prison-based drug treatment program.

Kenton C. Doughty, 54, had already pleaded guilty to three counts of heroin dealing, one count of possessing heroin with intent to deal it, and possessing stolen property.

Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder sentenced him to 20 months in the treatment program. He will be on Department of Corrections supervision for an additional 20 months after he finishes treatment.

Doughty's attorney, Michael Brodsky, said the treatment program would allow his client to restart a life deterred by drug abuse.

"Kent is a good candidate to beat his addiction and become a productive member of society again," Brodsky said.

Before he began using and selling drugs, Doughty was well-respected during his 20-year career working to improve salmon habitat in many bodies of water in the Pacific Northwest.

Three years ago he was making $130,000 annually and living in a $750,000, 2,000-square-foot house on Lummi Island, according to records filed in Superior Court.

The home was sold in July 2008 during divorce proceedings with his ex-wife, who filed to end the marriage after 20 years because of his drug use, according to court records.

Doughty purchased a house in the 2900 block of 16th Street in May 2009 for $395,000; the house was going through foreclosure proceedings when he was arrested Sept. 8.

Police arrested Doughty while he was riding a bicycle into downtown Bellingham to deal various drugs, according to the Northwest Regional Drug Task Force, which had been investigating his drug activities for months.

He had a stolen laptop and heroin, cocaine and prescription drugs all packaged for sale in his possession.

An informant working with the task force began purchasing heroin from Doughty in February; 10 such transactions were conducted with Doughty in the months leading to his arrest, according to charging documents filed in Superior Court.

A drug task force detective described the investigation in an affidavit filed in Superior Court.

The informant told detectives that although Doughty sold heroin, he did not use it and preferred crack cocaine instead.

The informant described Doughty as the main source of money for the drug dealing occurring within that home; two other people, Paul R. Meyer and Thea Duran, lived on the property in a mobile home and worked with Doughty to sell drugs, according to the affidavit.

They were arrested at the property Sept. 8. Both have pleaded guilty to drug charges.

According to the affidavit, Doughty was able to bring several ounces of heroin and cocaine up to Bellingham through suppliers in Seattle every other day. Based on the amounts Doughty was able to bring up, the detective estimated he was netting more than $2,300 every other day from drug sales.