Federal Search Warrants Being Served In Spokane Valley - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

NEW DETAILS: DEA Agents Release New Information On Drug Bust

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FRIDAY UPDATE:
  
SPOKANE, Wash. - Sally Guthrie was released on bail Friday morning. The judge released her on a $150,000 dollar percentage bond meaning Guthrie will have to pay $15,000 immediately to be released. Guthrie also must submit to drug testing, not be around firearms or ammunition and must turn in her passport. Guthrie must also wear an electronic ankle bracelet.
 
Sally Blakely Guthrie was charged in federal court Thursday morning with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. Guthrie is the principal owner of the Spokane wing chain, Flamin' Joe's which has 2 locations in Spokane and one in Spokane Valley. Investigators say Guthrie was involved in the drug ring but would not say exactly how. Authorities acknowledge that Guthrie has no prior criminal history.
 
KHQ talked with multiple former employees at Flamin' Joe's that say it was well known that Guthrie was involved with members of the alleged drug ring. However the former employees say they did not know if any part of the Flamin' Joe's business was involved. Investigators would not confirm any of the former worker's allegations. KHQ's Dylan Wohlenhaus spoke with Guthrie's private attorney and he says his client "denies all the allegations against her" and that he does not agree with the prosecutions findings. 
 
Josh Maurer, Guthrie's attorney who has worked with the family and the Flamin' Joe's franchise for many years says "this is a woman who's been an outstanding member of the local community." Maurer also says these allegations came as a big surprise to him. Maurer was unable to comment specifically on the allegations against his client because he says the defense team has not been provided enough information yet. "I would ask" people "to withhold their judgment for a while. All you're hearing now is one side of the equation right now." Maurer says.
 
In a bail hearing Thursday for Guthrie the judge spoke of allegations that Guthrie lied to investigators when she was questioned recently about a downtown Spokane shooting. The judge eluded to Guthrie being questioned about a vehicle that was allegedly used in the shootings. DEA agents and local authorities would not elaborate on this incident or give specifics on which shootings the judge was talking about. The federal search warrants in the case are still sealed documents.
  
LATEST TWEETS BELOW

SPOKANE, Wash. - Thursday Morning in a coordinated effort between the DEA, Spokane Regional Drug Task Force and Los Angeles Police, 41 people were arrested and 47 different locations raided between Washington and California.

The raids are part of what authorities call a massive prescription drug ring. Investigators say the drug involved is oxycodone. Authorities say "Members of this ring regularly circulate between Los Angeles and Spokane to fuel their customer's insatiable appetite and pharmaceutical addiction."
 
DEA agents tell KHQ's Dylan Wohlenhaus they have been investigating this drug operation for well over 6 months. Agents would not say how they believe the people involved were able to obtain the drugs or exactly how they were allegedly funneling them from Spokane to Los Angeles.16 of the Federal search warrants were executed in Spokane at various homes around the city Thursday morning. Federal investigators say the drug ring is believed to have taken in 20 million dollars in money generated by illegal activity.
 
Thursday morning in federal court, 9 suspects made their first appearance and were charged with numerous federal drug charges. Amber Cherokee Branch, Marlon Deshawn Johnson, Katriel Marquis Bulley, Brandon Leigh Chavez, David Emile Colbert, Harry Joseph Johnwell Jr. Mercedes Leshawn Reeves, Sally Blakely Guthrie and Arvin Terrell Carmen. Carmen is being charged with continuing a criminal enterprise. If convicted he could face a minimum of 20 years in prison. Authorities would not confirm if they believe Carmen was the mastermind in this drug ring.
 
The suspects and this drug ring are believed to be connected to recent shooting incidents in Spokane that authorities have labeled "Gang Related". Authorities would not elaborate exactly why they believes the incidents and the drug ring are all connected. Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich believes this drug bust is significant in reducing gang violence in Spokane. "We took out a major section of the folks that are committing those types of crimes." Knezovich tells KHQ Thursday.

"Major" drug raid nabs Spokane business owner
   
Sally Blakely Guthrie was charged in federal court Thursday morning with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. Guthrie is the principal owner of the Spokane wing chain, Flamin' Joe's which has 2 locations in Spokane and one in Spokane Valley. Investigators say Guthrie was involved in the drug ring but would not say exactly how. Authorities acknowledge that Guthrie has no prior criminal history.
 
KHQ talked with multiple former employees at Flamin' Joe's that say it was well known that Guthrie was involved with members of the alleged drug ring. However the former employees say they did not know if any part of the Flamin' Joe's business was involved. Investigators would not confirm any of the former worker's allegations. KHQ's Dylan Wohlenhaus spoke with Guthrie's private attorney and he says his client "denies all the allegations against her" and that he does not agree with the prosecutions findings.
 
In a bail hearing Thursday for Guthrie the judge spoke of allegations that Guthrie lied to investigators when she was questioned recently about a downtown Spokane shooting. The judge eluded to Guthrie being questioned about a vehicle that was allegedly used in the shootings. DEA agents and local authorities would not elaborate on this incident or give specifics on which shootings the judge was talking about. The federal search warrants in the case are still sealed documents.
 
In federal court Friday morning Sally Guthrie was released on bail. The judge released her on a 150,000 dollar percentage bond meaning Guthrie will have to pay 15,000 immediately to be released. Guthrie also must submit to drug testing, not be around firearms or ammunition and must turn in her passport. Guthrie must also wear an electronic ankle bracelet.

READ THE PRESS RELEASE BELOW THE TWEET UPDATES

Friday March 1st, 2013

TWEET FROM KHQ'S DYLAN: Judge releases Sally Guthrie on 150k percentage bond. She must pay 15k before release. She must also drug test while out.

TWEET FROM KHQ'S DYLAN: @KHQLocalNews Prosecutors are suggesting 150,000 percentage bond. & electronic ankle bracelet if released on bail. #FlaminJoes #Spokane

TWEET FROM KHQ'S DYLAN: 7:53AM @KHQLocalNews Back in court this morning. Bail hearing for #Spokane #FlaminJoes owner Sally Guthrie caught up in major west coast drug raid.

TWEET FROM DYLAN 4:02: Sally Guthrie's attorney tells me they deny all allegations & Flamin Joe's is still operating and not involved in drug raid.

Feb 28th, 2013

TWEET FROM DYLAN 3:38: Federal Prosecutors say there are "30 search locations" in LA that are still active scenes.

TWEET FROM DYLAN: In total 53 suspects taken in to custody from Spokane to California after federal drug raid...12 of which detained in Spokane.

TWEET FROM DYLAN: Attorneys say 62 defendants are tangled in this case. Some here in Spokane and California.

BREAKING TWEET FROM DYLAN 11:14 1st suspect charged in "major" drug raid this morning is the owner of Flamin Joe's Spokane Wing chain... Sally Guthrie.

THIS JUST IN FROM DYLAN 10:18 Suspects in the Federal Raid: Amber Branch has been charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substance. Possession with the intent to distribute. She DOES have criminal history.

Marlon Deshawn Johnson- 4 Charges. 3 counts of distribution of a controlled substance. One count conspiracy to distribute.

Sally Guthrie: Charged with Conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

3 more defendants are in the courtroom now.

TWEET FROM KHQ'S KATIE STEINER 8:24AM: Confirmed by DEA--there are more than three homes it is searching here in Spokane. They can't tell us where or how many.

TWEET FROM KHQ'S KATIE STEINER 7:20AM: Confirmed by DEA--there are more than three homes it is searching here in Spokane. They can't tell us where or how many.

TWEET FROM KHQ'S KATIE STEINER 7:18AM: I can tell you that this is an Oxycodone investigation. Officer have confiscated drugs and weapons. More than 10 in custody.

TWEET FROM KHQ'S KATIE STEINER 7:14AM: More than 10 suspects in custody in E. Washington. This is one big federal investigation here and in Los Angeles.

TWEET FROM KHQ'S KATIE STEINER 6:34AM: Another location for you that is part of the DEA's search...East Olympic Ave near Northtown Mall.

TWEET FROM KHQ'S KATIE STEINER 6:22AM: Just confirmed...the search warrant officers are executing at Indiana and Lacey is part of DEA's multiple search warrants.

TWEET FROM KHQ'S KATIE STEINER 6:13AM: Officers just put a man in the back of a vehicle very quickly and sped off. House number 10502 14th Ave.

TWEET FROM KHQ'S KATIE STEINER 6:07AM: This is still an active search, so DEA can't tell us too much about this house. We do know the DEA is looking for drugs.

TWEET FROM KHQ'S KATIE STEINER 5:52 AM: The DEA is looking for drugs.Border Patrol is also here.There were dogs as well, looking at this car.

ORIGINAL STORY:

KHQ.COM - Federal officials are serving multiple search warrants in Spokane Valley. One of the locations is in the area of 14th and Raymond.

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE:

LOS ANGELES/SPOKANE, WA (Feb 28) – Early Thursday  morning, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Los Angeles Police Department, in conjunction with the Spokane Regional Drug Task Force (SRDTF), led a large-scale enforcement action targeting a criminal organization spanning from Los Angeles to Eastern Washington.

Hundreds of law enforcement officials, including federal agents and state and local officers executed 16 federal search warrants in Spokane, Washington, 30 in Los Angeles, California, and one in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

As a result, 41 subjects were taken into custody on federal charges including 12 in Spokane, one in Mountlake Terrace, and 28 in Los Angeles (two of the 28 were already in California State custody). Additionally, three subjects were arrested by LAPD pursuant to California State arrest warrants in a separate but related investigation.

This enforcement action stems from a thirty-two count Federal Indictment that was handed down in the Eastern District of Washington in January, 2013. The Indictment charges numerous individuals with criminal violation(s) relating to the distribution, possession and attempted possession of oxycodone hydrochloride, in violation of the Federal Controlled Substances Act. Some of the individuals named in the Indictment face potential mandatory minimum sentences of twenty years in prison.

In addition, the United States has filed a notice of criminal forfeiture seeking a money judgment in the amount of $20 million dollars, which amount is alleged to represent the amount of proceeds obtained as a result of the charged controlled substances offense(s).

Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington said: "The tireless dedication and extraordinary efforts of the law enforcement officers involved in all aspects of this wide-ranging investigation are commendable.

Today's enforcement action is an outstanding example of the robust and effective working partnership among Federal, state, and local law enforcement officers both here in the Eastern District of Washington and in Los Angeles."

"Members of this ring regularly circulate between Los Angeles and Spokane to fuel their customer's insatiable appetite and pharmaceutical addiction," said Seattle DEA Special Agent in Charge Matthew G. Barnes. "For too long, their web of destruction has fed upon, and profited from the misery of many Washingtonians, only to leave a surplus of illegally obtained pain killers and ruined lives in their wake. I would like to commend the ongoing cooperative efforts of our federal, state and local partners to keep our communities safe."

"Today's operation is another fine example of the outstanding partnerships that have been forged between agencies who are committed to ridding our communities of violent organized criminals who prey on our City" said Chief Charlie Beck. "I am extremely proud of the Los Angeles Investigators who worked tirelessly on this case for the past year culminating in today's arrests."

Today's enforcement action is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. The OCDETF program provides supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved in the investigation of drug-related crimes.

This OCDETF investigation is being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Seattle and Los Angeles Field Divisions, the Spokane Regional Drug Task Force, and the Los Angeles Police Department.

The following agencies provided significant assistance for today's enforcement action: Drug Enforcement Administration; Los Angeles Police Department; Spokane Regional Drug Task Force; Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department; Spokane County Sheriff's Office; Spokane Police Department; Washington State Patrol; Fontana Police Department; Glendale Police Department; Pasadena Police Department; Gardena Police Department; Rialto Police Department; Inglewood Police Department; Long Beach Police Department; United States Marshal's Service; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Riverside County Sheriff's Department; Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms; Homeland Security Investigations; United States Border Patrol and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.

An Indictment Contains Allegations That an Individual Has Committed a Crime. Every Individual Is Presumed Innocent until Proven Guilty Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

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