Drug Enforcement Administration


Keith R. Weis, Special Agent in Charge

July 22, 2011

Contact: Jodie Underwood

Phone Number: (206) 553-1162

Multi-Agency Meth And Cocaine Investigation Nets 25 Federal Arrests In Eastern Washington

SPOKANE, WASH - The Drug Enforcement (DEA), the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington, the Washington State Patrol, and the Spokane Regional Drug Task Force announced today a sweeping enforcement action against a large scale methamphetamine and cocaine drug trafficking organization in Eastern Washington.

“The 25 defendants arrested today will reap no reward for their illegal actions other than to face the justice they deserve,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Matthew G. Barnes. “This investigation is an example of DEA’s commitment, together with the United States Attorney’s Office and our federal, state and local counterparts to keep our communities safe.”

In the early morning hours of July 21, 2011, hundreds of federal agents and state and local officers executed 24 federal search warrants and arrested 25 suspects in Moses Lake, Washington; Royal City, Washington; Pasco, Washington; Spokane, Washington; Othello, Washington; Desert Aire, Washington; Cheney, Washington and Connell, Washington.

According to the indictments unsealed in U.S. District Court, 24 of those arrested were charged by a federal grand jury on July 19, 2011, for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine, distribution of methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Additionally, the United States Government filed a notice of criminal forfeiture allegation for two residences located in Eastern Washington. The charges filed carry a 10 year mandatory minimum sentence.

“This is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when agencies work in partnership,” said Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste. “This investigation will make a significant impact on drug trafficking throughout the state. I am very proud of the men and women whose dedication has culminated in the results we see today.”

“This is just another example of what we can accomplish when law enforcement agencies work together,” said Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.

This was an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The case was investigated by the DEA, the Washington State Patrol and the Spokane Regional Drug Task Force. The following agencies provided substantial assistance in the investigation: Quad Cities Drug Task Force, Integrated Narcotics Enforcement Team, North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force, Spokane Police Department, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, Bureau of Indian Affairs, United States Marshal’s Service, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, Federal Bureau of Investigations and the United States Border Patrol.

Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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