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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Ecstasy

Young Ecstasy dealer gets 5 1/2 years

A Spokane man arrested on Ecstasy and firearm charges after telling a federal informant that he would “shoot it out with the cops” is headed to prison.

Patrick Hayes Wellman, 20, was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court to to 5 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to distribution of Ecstasy and use or carry of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. He'll be on probation for three years after his release.

The DEA began investigating Wellman in March after a confidential informant told them Wellman sold large quantities of Ecstasy and repeatedly said he could obtain as many pills as he wished.

The informant was to buy 100 pills from Wellman for $450. During a recorded conversation, Wellman boasted to the informant of stealing firearms; when the informant asked what he would do if stopped by police, Wellman responded “Well, I'm not going to go down easy. I'm going to shoot it out with the cops,” according to court testimony.

Police arrested block Wellman's car during a traffic stop and found a loaded .44 revolver in the car after his arrest.

Wellman's friends, Jeramy Michael Allen, then 18, and Vonne A. Renkert-Schafer, then 20, were arrested for retaliating against the informant in Wellman's case. Allen has pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony and Renkert-Schafer has pleaded guilty to retaliating against an informant. Both are out of custody awaiting sentencing.

Wellman's lawyer, Bevan Maxey, said in court documents that Wellman has no previous criminal history and is not associated with gangs or organized crime. Wellman hopes to complete drug treatment program and has the skills to earn an honest living after prison, Maxey wrote.

Now that his federal case is resolved, Wellman is due in Superior Court today on gun and theft charges for a burglary ring in Spokane County.

Sensing device led to big Ecstasy bust

Two cousins arrested with 159 pounds of Ecstasy near the United States-Canadian border were caught after a remote sensing device alerted authorities to their location.

Christopher Sidney Stocken, 31, and Joshua John Bird, 23, had five backpacks filled with Ecstasy pills June 10 when a border patrol agent used a night vision device to spot them emerging from brush near Stecker Road and U.S. Highway 395

A grand jury indicted the men Tuesday for conspiracy to import Ecstasy, importation of Ecstasy and possession with intent to deliver Ecstasy. Each charge carries a maximum 20 years in prison and three years probation.
The men are being held without bail at the Spokane County Jail.

According toa  newly unsealed affidavit, the suspects told border patrol agents they were at a party in Kelowna, B.C., when two unidentified individuals forced them to take the bags to the border “because they owed someone money for being at the party and if they did not do this they would be killed.” Stocken and Bird said they were to drop the bags off at a predetermined location in the U.S. and return to Canada.

The men stuck with the blackmail story until Stocken told investigators the next day that they were neither coerced nor forced into smuggling the Ecstasy, rather they had agreed to transport the backpacks “to make quick easy money,” according to the affidavit.

Stocken said he had asked Bird to help.

“Stocken indicated he wanted to help out his cousin as he felt responsible for them getting caught,” according to the affidavit.

Cousins arrested w/ Ecstasy to stay jailed

Two men from Canada arrested with 159 pounds of Ecstasy near the United States border will stay in the Spokane County Jail without bail, a judge ruled today.

Christopher S. Stocken, 31, and Joshua J. Bird, 23, who are cousins and members of the Little Black Bear tribe, don't have a stable release plan to ensure their presence in court, U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno said.

Family members traveled from Regina, Saskatchewan, for the hearing in U.S. District Court in Spokane this morning.

Stocken is unemployed but works seasonal odd jobs, his lawyer said. He has a warrant in Canada related to a drunken driving conviction, and Bird also has a drunken driving conviction. But neither man has any criminal history that indicated they're a risk to the community, lawyers said.

Imbrogno noted the seriousness of the charges when granting the U.S. Attorney's Office's motions to detain Stocken and Bird.

The suspects, who have not yet been indicted, face charges of possession with intent to distribute Ecstasy and importation of Ecstasy.

Border patrol agents found the men with five backpacks after they crossed into the country illegally from Canada on Friday. Investigators estimate the Ecstasy tablets to be worth $4.5 million.

2 men arrested w/ 159 lbs. of Ecstasy

Two Canadian men were arrested near the United States border with 159 pounds of Ecstasy, authorities said today.

Christopher S. Stocken, 31, and Joshua J. Bird, 23, appeared in U.S. District Court in Spokane this afternoon to hear their charges.

The suspects were booked into the Spokane County Jail Saturday about 3 p.m. after being arrested in the Colville area, the U.S. Border Patrol confirmed.

They face charges of possession with intent to distribute Ecstasy and importation of Ecstasy. A hearing to determine if they can be released from jail on bail is scheduled for Thursday.

Border patrol agents found the men with five backpacks after they crossed into the country illegally from Canada. Agents arrested Stocken and Bird as they tried to hide in the brush near a trail just south of the border. Investigators estimate the Ecstasy tablets to be worth $4.5 million.

“This seizure is a direct result of the valuable work executed daily by our highly skilled Border Patrol agents,” Spokane Border Patrol Sector Chief Gloria Chavez said in a prepared statement. “Our CBP “state of the art” technology is a critical asset on the Northern border and played a pivotal role in the discovery, interdiction and seizure of this illicit contraband and the suspected perpetrators”.

Ecstasy and marijuana are often smuggled into the United States from Canada in exchange for cocaine. Last October, border agents found 310 pounds of Ecstasy worth more than $9.3 million near Curlew. No arrests have been made in that case.

Teen arrested on Ecstasy, gun charges

A 19-year-old Spokane man is in custody after a federal drug informant recorded him discussing how he'd stolen firearms and would “shoot it out with the cops” if he was approached.

Patrick Hayes Wellman was arrested on Friday just yards from Glover Middle School and within 1,000 feet of Shadle Park High School, where he attended, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Hicks.

He appeared in U.S. District Court on Wednesday and is being held without bail at the Spokane County Jail.

Investigators found hundreds of Ecstasy tablets in a safe at Wellman's apartment at 221 S. Adams in Spokane Valley, as well as marijuana on a coffee table and several bongs that “all smelled pretty bad,” Drug Enforcement Administration agent Sam Keiser testified on Wednesday.

The DEA began investigating Wellman after a confidential informant told them Friday that Wellman sold large quantities of Ecstasy and repeatably said he could obtain as many pills as he wished.

The informant was to buy 100 pills from Wellman for $450. During a recorded conversation, Wellman allegedly boasted to the informant of stealing firearms; when the informant asked what he would do if stopped by police, Wellman responded “Well, I'm not going to go down easy. I'm going to shoot it out with the cops,” Keiser testified.

That comment led police to initiated a traffic stop after tailing Wellman as he drove in Spokane last Friday. Five police vehicles blocked Wellman's car, and he was arrested without incident, Keiser said. He had  a loaded .44 revolver in the car, Keiser said.

Wellman called his girlfriend from jail and told her a possible name of the informant, then asked her to inform two of his friends. The informant told the DEA he received a message from an unknown number saying “We know you're a snitch. You're dead.”

Asked by Wellman's public defender if the informant, who was previously arrested on drug charge, won't face criminal charges because of his cooperation, Keiser said, “if it's enough to warrant that, then yes.”

Wellman faces federal charges of possession with intent to distribute Ecstasy and carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime. He's also charged in Spokane County Superior Court with residential burglary, first-degree theft, second-degree car theft, and six counts of theft of a firearm.

Canadian gangster admits drug charge

A Canadian gangster who authorities say is responsible for major drug distributions in Eastern Washington faces eight years in prison under a plea agreement signed recently in Spokane.

Joseph P. Curry, an associate of imprisoned B.C. drug lord Clay Roueche, pleaded guilty Thursday to importation of Ecstasy, which carries a maximum 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors and Curry's lawyer, Chris Phelps, have agreed to recommend a 102-month sentence and three years probation at his sentencing May 5.

According to the plea agreement filed Thursday, Curry made an emergency landing in a small Cessna plane about 35 miles from the Canadian border in Okanogan County on Aug. 10, 2007.

Federal agents found three duffel bags containing 30 kilograms of Ecstasy nearby. Curry's lawyer called authorities on Aug. 13, 2007, and asked for the plane back, saying his client had experienced engine problems and bad weather. A grand jury indicted Curry the next month.

Curry was named as as a suspect in the Operation Blade Runner federal drug bust that included arrests in Eastern Washington and North Idaho and led to the suicide of young helicopter pilot Samuel Lindsay-Brown int he Spokane County Jail.

After Lindsay-Brown's suicide, another young Canadian man was arrested near Priest Lake with a helicopter filled with marijuana. The helicopter belonged to a friend of Curry's, and authorities believe Curry helped load the aircraft in Canada, according to court documents.

Curry is an associate of the United Nations gang in Vancouver, B.C.

Roueche, the gang leader, was sentenced to 30 years in prison last December. Prosecutors said he ran a drug ring that used a network of helicopters, planes, semi-trucks and other methods to move tons of marijuana and cocaine and millions of dollars through Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

Curry and Roueche were photographed together (see left) at the funeral of a UN gang member who was killed in a drug-related shooting in Canada, according to federal court documents.

Federal agents believe a smaller drug ring was headed by four Canadian men, one of whom offered to cooperate if investigators let him continue his operation for a decade.

Traffic stops yields cocaine, Ecstasy

Two men arrested on assault charges last summer were arrested again early today after a traffic stop for vehicle equipment violations led to the discovery of cocaine, Ecstasy, marijuana and misdemeanor warrants.

John Paul Ledoux, 21, and Cousteau C. Wright, 22, were arrested after Spokane Valley police Officer Justin Elliot stopped a Chevrolet Malibu in which they were passengers about 1:30 a.m. on East Sprague Avenue.

The Malibu was missing its rear bumper and had an inoperative license plate light, police said. The driver and two other passengers weren’t arrested, but Ledoux was taken into custody on a warrant for malicious mischief. Police found two small baggies of cocaine in his pockets, according to a news release.

Wright was arrested on a warrant for driving while license suspended. Police found a zippered pouch with a glass marijuana pipe, cocaine, and five Ecstasy tablets that the other occupants said belonged to Wight.

Both Ledoux and Wright were booked into jail on new drug charges.

Both men are scheduled for trial next month on first-degree assault charges for a June 21 incident in which a man was stabbed in the shoulder and a teen girl was hit in the neck with the handle of a hammer.

Wanted: Owner of 310 lbs of Ecstasy

Federal drug agents are trying to find the owner of more than 310 pounds of Ecstasy seized near Curlew this month. 

A resident tipped the U.S. Border Patrol to several backpacks filled with pills hidden under brush along a trail near the Canadian border Oct. 18.

Border Patrol dogs found two other backpacks of the drug in what federal agents described as a record Ecstasy seizure along Washington’s northern border, according to a news release.

Authorities estimate the value of the drugs to be $9.3 million.

“This significant seizure is a direct result of the valued partnership that we share with our local residents and the importance of them reporting any suspicious activity to law enforcement,” Gloria Chavez, chief patrol agent of the Spokane Border Patrol, said in a prepared statement.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is investigating.

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