ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: gangs

Man, 20, arrested for 2007 homicide

A 20-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a 2007 homicide.

 Derrick Gregory Martin-Armstead remains in the Spokane County Jail on $1 million bond after appearing in court on Tuesday on a first-degree murder charge for the Nov. 12, 2007, shooting death of Daniel J. Burgess, 30.

An informant told detectives this month that Martin-Armstead had talked about his involvement in the case while in custody at the Spokane County Jail.

Read the rest of my story here.

No jail furlough for new Hells Angel dad

A federal judge today refused to allow Hells Angels sergeant-at-arms Ricky W. Jenks out of jail so he can help with his girlfriend’s pregnancy.

U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush ripped Jenks during the hearing, saying Jenks hadn’t “earned” much consideration from him.

“His record is not one that generates a great deal of sympathy,” Quackenbush said of Jenks. “But here he is escaping another major, major multiyear sentence.”

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Aug. 3: Judge skeptical of Hells Angels plea deal

March 7: Jenks' arrest pleases '01 victim's mother

March 31: Grand jury indicts Hells Angels leader

Cops tell gang not to retaliate for arson

WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) — Wenatchee police have contacted a gang that appeared to be the target of a fire that killed two children and warned it not to retaliate.

Sgt. John Kruse says the gang was told retaliation would be very detrimental to solving the homicide.

Chelan County Coroner Wayne Harris says the boys, 4 and 6 years old, died of smoke inhalation.

The Wenatchee World reports the fire is being investigated as arson.

Police say the duplex has been a target of gang activity in the past, but no one in the house at the time of Thursday's fire is believed to be a gang member.

The boys' father suffered serious burns trying to save them and is in a Seattle hospital.

Judge skeptical of Hells Angel plea deal

Hells Angels sergeant-at-arms Ricky W. Jenks pleaded guilty in federal court in Spokane today to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, but the judge handling the case said he wants more time before accepting the plea.

U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush questioned why federal prosecutors accepted the plea agreement calling for only two years in prison when Jenks faced twice that prison time had the case proceeded to trial.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

March 7: Jenks' arrest pleases '01 victim's mother

March 31: Grand jury indicts Hells Angels leader

Gunfire in west Spokane leads to arrest

An argument between two men erupted in gunfire early Saturday in west Spokane, leading to the arrest of a man on assault and gun charges.

The victim told police he was arguing with John J. Felch, 19, about 2:30 a.m. in the intersection of West Boone Avenue and North Lindeke Street when Felch returned about a half hour alter and fired several rounds from a gun.

The victim, identified only as Patterson in court documents, called police about seven hours later to turn himself in on an unrelated warrant and to report the shooting. Two other witnesses told also police that Felch fired several shots, and a man who lives in the 2600 block of West Boone reported hearing gunshots and finding 9 mm shell casings near a street curb.

Police searched Felch's bedroom at 1922 W. Broadway Ave., where they found a 20 gauge shotgun. The 9 mm handgun used in the shooting was not located.

Felch was booked into jail on charges of first-degree assault and first-degree felon in possession of a firearm; police said he as a previous conviction for first-degree robbery, but court records show the charge was actually attempted first-degree robbery, which was ajudicated in juvenile court and is not considered a felony conviction. A previous version of this post also said witnesses described Felch as a gang member, but Felch isn't actually a gang member.

New website aims to help combat gangs

A new website has been launched to help combat gang activity in Spokane County.

The website, developed by the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council and the Spokane Violent Crime Gang Enforcement Team, allows citizens to submit antonymous tips about gang activity.

Tipsters are given a tracking number to check the status of the tip, and law enforcement will be able to tell them whether any actions has been taken or if they need more information.

“Active involvement and communication with the public is extremely important in making this website a success,” according to a news release. “Giving the public a way to be heard and have their tips validated should encourage continual involvement by the community in this gang effort. ”

The website includes information on gangs like the Crips and Bloods as well as outlaw motorcycle gangs and white supremacist groups.

Look for billboards promoting the website through Spokane County.

Visit the website at www.stopspokanegangs.org.

Assailant stabbed by victim sentenced

A gang suspect stabbed by a man he was trying to rob has been sentenced to just under four years in prison.

Devron M. Parrish, 24, pleaded guilty to second degree robbery and was sentenced to 45 months in prison with credit for 163 days already served in the Spokane County Jail.

Parrish and three other suspected gang members were walking near North Nelson Street and East Wabash Avenue on Dec. 23 when they assaulted a man and demanded his money.

The victim fought the men off with a knife, stabbing Parrish and Patrick McKenzie. McKenzie told police he helped carry Parrish to a nearby apartment.

McKenzie, 25, was sentenced in April to 20 months in prison and $106 restitution, after pleading guilty to second-degree robbery and third-degree assault.

It's Parrish's second prison stint - he was sentenced to 51 months in 2006 for second-degree assault, second-degree malicious mischief and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Gang suspect jailed for assault, gun theft

A suspected gang member is in jail on gun and second-degree assault charges after an alleged assault on his ex-girlfriend.

Tayone D. “K-Row” Akers, 19, has a $100,000 bond after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court on Thursday.

Akers is accused of choking a woman on May 23 during a party near East Wellesley Avenue and North Hamilton Street and trying to hit her and her sister with his car.

The woman said she had been in a significant relationship with Akers but knew him only as K-Row, according to court documents. She said she feared him because of his gang ties.

Akers also is charged with three counts of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and three counts of first-degree theft of a firearm for allegedly stealing two rifles and a shotgun and from a home in Liberty Lake in April. The homeowners were out of town, and Akers knew the girl watching the place.

Mobster ‘Gorgeous’ avoids death penalty

By TOM HAYS, ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK (AP) — A combative, fashion-conscious mobster already serving a life prison term dodged a death sentence on Wednesday for ordering a gangland hit while taking control of a once-fearsome crime family.

An anonymous jury deliberated less than two hours before rejecting the government's longshot bid to have Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano (pictured) put to death and giving him another life sentence at the penalty phase of his trial in federal court in Brooklyn.

The jury had previously found the former acting boss of the Bonanno crime family guilty last month of murder, racketeering, conspiracy and other charges. Prosecutors said he had orchestrated the killing of mob associate Randolph Pizzolo.

Basciano, 51, cracked a slight smile and nodded at the jurors as they exited the courtroom.

Moments later, U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis told defense lawyers they could meet privately with the jury and Basciano eagerly asked if he could tag along. The judge's blunt response: “There's not a chance in the world of that.”

Prosecutors used the unprecedented testimony of former Bonanno boss Joseph Massino to try to portray Basciano as a stone-cold killer who deserved death. Massino — the highest-ranking member of the city's five long-standing Mafia families to ever take the witness stand for the government — recounted a conversation about the possibility of knocking off an assistant U.S. attorney while the prosecutor dined at his favorite Manhattan eatery to avenge an onslaught of criminal cases brought against the family leadership.

“Let me kill this guy when he comes out of the restaurant,” Basciano said, according to Massino, who by mob rules had to sign off on the killing.

The prosecutor, Greg Andres, had “pretty much destroyed the Bonanno family,” Massino testified.

The government also sought to convince jurors that life behind bars wouldn't prevent Basciano from trying to use visitors to sneak orders to his underworld crew — a tactic he'd used in the past.

“Even with a life sentence, he will not be stopped,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Argentieri said in closing arguments. “His mind will always be in the street. … The defendant has earned the ultimate punishment.”

Defense attorney Richard Jasper argued the former owner of the Hello Gorgeous hair salon would pose no threat if imprisoned with other notorious gangsters and terrorists in the fortress-like lockup in Florence, Colo., “the biggest, baddest house in the federal system,” where “everybody is in lockdown.”

He urged jurors to follow their consciences and “suspend the work of death until Vincent Basciano dies in a federal prison by himself — in God's time, not man's.”

The jury indicated on their verdict sheet that it didn't buy prosecutors' argument that Basciano posed a future threat. Ten of the 12 jurors wrote their decision also was based on the fact that other mobsters who “have admitted to an equal or greater number of serious crimes … are not facing the death penalty.”

Throughout the capital case, Basciano was a colorful presence in the courtroom. He had won Garaufis' approval to wear a wardrobe of five different suits — one for each day of the week — and always kept his full head of gray hair carefully coiffed.

He also gave regular pointers to his lawyers and even sparred with the judge at length over whether he could introduce new evidence while testifying on his own behalf.

“I can't properly defend myself,” he complained in one rant before deciding not to take the stand.

Last year, the judge asked the Department of Justice to reconsider bringing a death penalty case — which at the time had already cost taxpayers more than $3 million — against a defendant who was already serving life without parole for a 2007 conviction. The U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn also was defying modern history: There's been only one federal defendant — convicted police killer Ronell Wilson — sentenced to death in the city since 1954, and that decision was overturned on appeal.

But prosecutors decided to press ahead anyway and showcase the straight-talking Massino at the guilt and penalty phases of the trial.

Massino, 68, broke his family's sacred vow of silence and began talking with investigators after his 2004 conviction for orchestrating a quarter-century's worth of murder, racketeering and other crimes as he rose through the ranks of the Bonannos. The bloodshed included the shotgun slayings of three rival captains and the execution of a mobster who vouched for FBI undercover agent Donnie Brasco in the 1980s. Brasco's story became a movie starring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino.

While imprisoned together in 2005, the former Bonanno boss agreed to wear a wire and betray Basciano by recording their jailhouse banter.

Jurors heard one recording of Basciano boasting, “I'm a hoodlum. I'm a tough guy. Whatever happens happens. Let's go.” In another, a wistful Massino mused about the demise of the family.

“We was OK until I got pinched,” he said. “We was on top of the world.”

Judge bars gang terms at Jenks’ trial

Prosecutors are prohibited from referencing the terms “Hells Angels,” “Mongols” and “gangs” in the upcoming trial of club Sergeant at Arms Ricky Jenks.

U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush said federal prosecutors can refer to Jenks' membership in a “motorcycle club” only. He said the other references “would be unfairly prejudicial and generate 'more heat than light.'” Those orders were reiterated in pretrial documents filed last week.

Jenks' trial, originally set to begin Tuesday, is now scheduled to begin July 11 at 9 a.m. He faces 10 years in prison if convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

He has been in jail since his arrest March 3 during a raid at the Hells Angels Spokane clubhouse on East Sprague Avenue.

The raid came as tensions between the Hells Angels and Mongols were rumored to be heating up.

Past coverage:

March 7: Jenks' arrest pleases '01 victim's mother

March 31: Grand jury indicts Hells Angels leader

Cops: Man left crack cocaine in patrol car

A Spokane gang member accused of helping a murder suspect now faces federal drug charges for 38 grams of crack cocaine found in a patrol car after his arrest.

A confidential informant arranged a drug buy with Christopher “Baby Boy” Route, 24, at a convenience store near East Illinois Avenue and North Perry Street on March 22 that led to his arrest, according to an affidavit by FBI Task Force Officer Jeff Barrington that was filed in U.S. District Court on Monday.

Investigators followed Route to an address in the 2500 block of North Hogan, then arrested him after he left in a car and drove northbound on Perry Street.
 
Police found $1,500 and two cellphones on him. They also found a large baggie containing 14 smaller baggies of crack under the front passenger seat of the patrol car after Route was booked into jail.
 
Route had felony warrants in Spokane County Superior Court, including one for criminal assistance for allegedly lying to detectives about what he knew regarding the murder of John S. Williams in January 2010.

According to court documents, Route and other reputed gang members attended a birthday party at Casey's Restaurant and Lounge before taking a limousine to an after party at 5405 N. Crestline St.

Route, who was charged with assault in connection with a gang murder in 2005, told police he stayed at the party for only about 30 minutes and left when a fight broke out. 

 Route said he didn't know anything about the shooting, but detectives say he was present when Williams punched out a car window, then was shot to death, allegedly by Edward “TD” Thomas.

Tattoo leads to murder conviction in LA


LOS ANGELES — The process was routine. Los Angeles County Sheriff's homicide investigator Kevin Lloyd was flipping through snapshots of tattooed gang members.

Then one caught his attention.

Inked on the pudgy chest of a young Pico Rivera gangster who had been picked up and released on a minor offense was the scene of a 2004 liquor store slaying that had stumped Lloyd for more than four years.

Each key detail was right there: the Christmas lights that lined the roof of the liquor store where 23-year-old John Juarez was gunned down, the direction his body fell, the bowed street lamp across the way and the street sign — all under the chilling banner of RIVERA KILLS, a reference to the gang Rivera-13.

As if to seal the deal, below the collarbone of the gang member known by the alias “Chopper” was a miniature helicopter raining down bullets on the scene.
  

Read the rest of the story by Robert Faturechi of the Los Angeles times here.

Trial set for last suspect in ‘09 stabbing

A teenager involved in a shooting at Hoopfest last summer will stand trial this week for an unrelated stabbing outside Club Uno in 2009.

Jury selection began Monday in the trial of Adam Doe, 19, who is charged with first-degree assault for an October 2009 stabbing that injured two men. Opening statements are expected Wednesday morning.

Doe had a tentative plea deal in the case until his arrest in the June 28 Hoopfest shooting. He pleaded guilty in February to second-degree assault and third-degree assault in connection with the shooting. Gunman Miguel C. Garcia, 20, also pleaded guilty that month to three felonies and is expected to receive nine years in prison.

At the time of the shooting, Doe was supposed to be on house arrest after his release from jail on the Club Uno stabbing charge.

The main suspect in the stabbing, John Proctor, was acquitted of all charges after a jury trial last October. Proctor was near the scene of the wild fight but said he did not participate and was falsely accused; the jury quickly acquitted him.

Doe is on trial before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza. Steve Garvin is prosecuting; Dennis Dressler is representing Doe.

The Oct. 28, 2009, stabbing injured Kenneth R. Budik and Charles L. Lucious. Witnesses said one of defendants said, “There’s Kenny! Murder One Crips!” and “You messed with Murder One,” before the attack, according to court documents. Budik was a victim in a shooting in 2007 that killed gang member Adama Walton.

Also charged in the stabbing were brothers Rashjel G. “Reggie” Cage and Rakee D. Cage, who pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree assault. Parrish J. Johnson pleaded guilty to riot; William Alexander-Durr’s charge was dismissed.

2nd man in Hells Angels raid leaves jail

A Hells Angels member arrested on a marijuana charge Thursday in Spokane was released from jail on his own recognizance Friday.

Michael Ryan Fitzpatrick, 33, was booked into jail Thursday on one felony charge of delivery of a controlled substance after selling marijuana in a “controlled drug buy” set up by the Spokane Regional Drug Task Force last fall, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The one-paragraph affidavit, signed Thursday by Jeff Barrington, alleges the transaction occurred in October.

Superior Court Judge Michael Price allowed Fitzpatrick to leave jail Friday without posting bail, which pre-trial services recommended and is common in marijuana cases. Fitzpatrick has three felony convictions from several years ago, Price said.

The affidavit contains no information about Fitzpatrick's arrest, which occurred Thursday after federal agents and Spokane police searched the Hells Angels clubhouse at 1308 E. Sprague Ave. Fitzpatrick was not at the club at the time but was arrested at a different location.

 Also arrested was Hells Angels sergeant of arms Ricky W. Jenks, 33.

Jenks remains in jail without bail on a federal charge of felon in possession of a firearm. Investigators say they found six loaded firearms in the clubhouse.

Jenks was among those indicted in 2006 with now imprisoned chapter president Richard “Smilin’ Rick” Fabel (pictured).

Read my full story here.

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.

Hoopfest shooter faces 9 years in prison

The Hoopfest gunman who opened fire on rival gang members last year, injuring three bystanders in the downtown Spokane crowd, pleaded guilty today to assault charges.

Miguel C. Garcia, 19, was originally charged with 10 counts of attempted first-degree murder but instead pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault and unlawful possession of a firearm.

He’s expected to serve nearly nine years in prison but sentencing was delayed until April 12.

Because he used a gun in the commission of the assaults, six years of the agreed upon 105-month sentence would be served as part of a weapon enhancement.

Read Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 11: 3rd man in Hoopfest shooting sentenced

Oct. 1: Deal gives Hoopfest suspect light sentence

Sept. 13: Hoopfest suspect pleads to riot, gun charges

June 29: Hoopfest shots not 'surprising'

Drive-by shooting targets club bouncer

A Spokane man upset that a club bouncer approached his girlfriend sprayed the man's home with bullets in a recent drive-by shooting, police say.

Derek L. Wilson, 24, (pictured above, in 2007) appeared in Superior Court Monday via video from the jail, where he is charged with seven counts of first-degree assault and seven counts of drive-by shooting for Feb. 3 gunfire at a home at 2812 E. Hoffman Ave. in Hillyard.

No one was injured in the shooting, which resident John Seyler, a bouncer at Raw, 723 W. 1st Ave., told police occurred hours after he'd approached a woman he'd frequently kicked out of bars for being underage.

The woman, later identified as Kassandra Darby, just recently turned 21 and was allowed to stay at the bar, but her boyfriend, later identified as Wilson, was angry with Seyler for approaching her, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Seyler said he saw the two in a black Audi at a convenience store at Market and Wellesley later that morning and noticed them watching him. They followed him to the residence on Hoffman; shots were fired about five minutes later. Bullets entered the home, where Seyler, three other adults and two children were staying.

Darby told police she'd been “manhandled” by a bouncer but denied knowing anything about a shooting.

Police found a .380 caliber handgun believed to have been used in the shooting at Wilson's ex-girlfriend's apartment at 4223 N. Progress Road and located a .380 caliber unfired bullet in Wilson's Audi. Wilson was arrested for driving while suspended on Feb. 4 and has been in jail since. Prosecutors filed the 14 felony charges on Friday.

Wilson is considered a gang associate by police.

He has previous convictions for second-degree robbery in 2005 and for second-degree assault in 2007 after a shooting at the skate park under Interstate 90 in downtown Spokane.

The picture above is from that arrest.

3rd man in Hoopfest shooting sentenced

A teenager involved in a shooting at Hoopfest last summer was credited for time already served in jail after pleading guilty to two felony assault charges this week.

Adam Doe, 19, remains in jail pending the resolution of riot and assault charges related to an October 2009 stabbing outside Club Uno in downtown Spokane. Trial is set for March.

Doe pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree assault and third-degree assault related to the June 28 shooting at Hoopfest that hit three bystanders. Police say the shooting occured when the men approached rival gang members.

The accused gunman, Miguel C. Garcia, remains in jail on several assault charges. Spokane police say Garcia passed the gun to Doe after the shooting, and Doe fought with an officer trying to detain him. Doe was on house arrest at the time after his release from jail on the Club Uno stabbing charges.

Another accomplice in the Hoopest shooting, Marquis Johnson, was given an exceptionally low sentence of six months after pleading guilty to second-degree assault last October.

A third suspect, Rashjel “Reggie” Cage, is to receive a light sentence for gun and riot convictions once he testifies at Garcia's trial.

All four men had originally been charged with about a dozen counts of attempted murder.

Past coverage:

June 29: Hoopfest shots not 'surprising'

Anti-gang bill debated at state hearing

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Uniformed sheriffs, community activists and onetime gang members sporting facial tattoos were among a large crowd that assembled Wednesday to debate a legislative proposal aimed at restricting criminal gangs in Washington state.

The bill — proposed by Attorney General Rob McKenna and sponsored by Rep. Charles Ross, R-Naches — aims to crack down on violent gang-related crime by allowing for broader injunctions on known gang activities and affiliations.

It directs legislators to request federal funding for intervention and prevention programs, expands law enforcement's ability to issue protection orders against gang members and close down housing where gang crime is known to occur. It also calls for sentence enhancements when certain felonies are committed.

“Today, the discussion is about your right to live in a private, safe community, versus your civil rights,” Ross said Wednesday. “I've worked hard … to keep an eye on how far we intrude in on someone's civil rights, while also maintaining your ability to live in an environment that is free and safe of gang violence.”

More than 60 witnesses from around Washington signed up to testify on both sides of the bill, packing into the small room and overflowing into the hallway.

While acknowledging the need to reduce gang activity, the opposition's concerns were many: Too much emphasis on suppression, instead of prevention and intervention; enormous potential for racial profiling and increased arrests of young offenders who could be reached through other methods.

Chris Hoke, a chaplain in the Skagit County Jail, has worked with gang members for the past six years and foresees a “blowback” from the bill's injunction provisions in the form of more offenders going to prison and becoming more militarized by associating with other gang member inmates.

“I see our money would be ultimately going to sending kids to 'gang university' and to come back a few years later, worse,” he said.

Several law enforcement officials came to speak in favor of the bill, lauding the provisions in Ross's proposal as new tools to help keep neighborhoods safe.

Yakima County Sheriff Ken Irwin and Yakima Police Sgt. Erik Hildebrand were among the law enforcement officials testifying in favor of the bill, saying it would provide as new tools to help keep neighborhoods safe. Irwin said his county already is finding success with its prevention and intervention measures, but must focus on crime-fighting first.

“We're in need of triage. We can't treat everything right now; we don't have the money to do all we need to do,” Irwin said.

Dan Sytman, a spokesman for McKenna, said the current bill reflects the need to accommodate state budget problems while still recognizing the demand for community outreach programs to reduce gang activity.

“There are lots of good programs around the state, right in the local communities. We want to support those programs,” he said.

Canadian gangster arraigned in Spokane

A reputed Canadian gangster who authorities say is responsible for major drug distributions in Eastern Washington has arrived in Spokane to face three-year-old Ecstasy charges.

Joseph P. Curry, an associate of imprisoned B.C. drug lord Clay Roueche, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court Friday to importation of Ecstasy, possession of Ecstasy with intent to distribute and entry without inspection. He faces a maximum 20 years in federal prison and is being held without bail at the Spokane County Jail, where he was booked Thursday evening.

He was ordered extradited to the United States from Canada in February, according to the Vancouver Sun.

The case began on Aug. 10, 2007, when federal agents say Curry, 49, abandoned a small Cessna about 35 miles from the Canadian border in Okanogan County. Three duffel bags containing Ecstasy pills were found nearby; Curry has told investigators the drugs were not his and said he knew nothing about them, according to court documents. 

Curry was named as a suspect in the 2009Operation Blade Runner international drug bust, which also included arrests in Eastern Washington and North Idaho and led to the suicide of young helicopter pilot Samuel Lindsay-Brown (left) in the Spokane County Jail.

About a week after Lindsay-Brown's death on Feb. 27, 2009, another young Canadian man, Jeremy Snow, 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 helicopter in Canada, according to court documents.

Federal agents say 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 say the gang 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 are pictured at right at the funeral of a UN gang member who was killed in a drug-related shooting in Canada. The photo was included in Roueche's case file.

Court documents prepared by investigators in August 2007 called Curry “a known suspect in multiple narcotics trafficking cases in Eastern District of Washington.”

In May 2006, a law enforcement helicopter spotted Curry's car meeting with a helicopter in a remote location in B.C. More than 100 kilograms of marijuana in duffel bags was transferred to the helicopter, which was intercepted by law enforcement at a remote location in Eastern Washington.

Authorities never identified the driver of the vehicle, but Curry's name came up about a year later when federal agents found the abandoned plane and nearby Ecstasy stash. The plane had a “for sale” sign that listed Curry's phone number.

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. He was extradited to Western Washington before arriving in Spokane last week, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Rice.

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

Public safety news from the Inland Northwest and beyond.

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Sirens & Gavels.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here