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Sirens & Gavels

Plea deals reveal drug ring details

Several Spokane businesses were fronts for a multimillion dollar marijuana distribution ring busted after a four-year investigation that involved a Massachusetts donut shop, tens of thousands of tapped phone calls and a car crash that revealed a $130,000 cash stash, new documents allege.

The operation crumbled last February after federal agents raided homes in Seattle and Spokane, arresting more than 20 people in a vast drug conspiracy they say operated in the region since 2001. Of the 30 people charged, 18 pleaded guilty in the last week, many accepting plea deals that depend on their cooperation in federal trials scheduled for this summer.

At the center of the case is Luyen V. “John” Doan, who’s been in Spokane County Jail since February. He pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal drug and investment charges and will give up more than 15 properties in Stevens, Spokane and Kootenai counties, including Lefty’s Steakhouse and Sports on North Division and a home on Diamond Lake, as well as a boat and 2007 Mercedes Benz, according to court documents.

 Federal prosecutors say the 43-year-old Doan amassed an empire of wealth by masterminding a drug operation that distributed thousands of pounds of marijuana throughout Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Montana, then investing in several Spokane restaurants and nail salons.

As his wealth accumulated, documents allege, Doan, who used the nickname “Tiger,” removed himself further from drug ring, employing dealers through businesses like Lefty’s, the Teriyaki House on East Sprague, and Trick Shot Dixie Outlaw Saloon and BBQ on West Sprague.

Read the rest of my story in tomorrow’s Spokesman-Review.


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