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Sirens & Gavels

Three men facing charges for drug sales near Grant Elementary

The three Spokane men implicated in a drug-selling operation based out of a repair shop near Grant Elementary School remain mired in legal proceedings, as the building — sold in May — falls into disrepair.

Gerry Elerding, 41, was in Spokane County Superior Court on Wednesday after failing to meet with his attorney as scheduled ahead of a court date later this month. Elerding faces a charge of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance after undercover informants reportedly bought hydrocodone pills from him in March at Lonnie's Auto Repair, 826 S. Perry Ave. Elerding initially pleaded guilty to the charge, earning a year in prison, but he asked for that pleading to be thrown out in July. The state asked Elerding be held without bail Wednesday.

The previous owner of the property, Lonnie Sandros, 59, was arrested in a police bust that occurred May 15. He pleaded not guilty to a charge of unlawful use of a building for drug purposes and is set to appear at trial in September. Sandros sold the garage, which was closed for code violations early in May, to R & G South Perry, LLC, shortly after his arrest, according to tax documents filed with the Spokane County Assessor's Office.

Police arrested Joseph Johnson, 52, in the raid and found a white pill on him later identified as hydrocodone, according to court documents. Detectives say Johnson sold crystal meth to an undercover informant at the body shop in March. Johnson pleaded not guilty to possession of the hydrocodone and delivery of the methamphetamine. His trial is set for October.

Elerding, Sandros and Johnson have lengthy criminal histories, according to court records. Elerding was accused of attacking a police K9 unit in August 2011.

The Lonnie's sign still hangs above the building at 826 S. Perry, though it is unoccupied and the walls show signs of wear.


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