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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Joseph Ward

Meth dealer in Ward case gets 5 years

A methamphetamine dealer and former associate of a Spokane real estate company founder was sentenced recently to five years in federal prison.

 Shad A. Johnson, 39, of Rathdrum, is to perform 200 hours of community service and will be on probation for five years after he serves his 60-month prison sentence, which was imposed last week by U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge in Coeur d'Alene.

Johnson admitted to traveling with other drug dealers to pick up methamphetamine and bring it back to the Coeur d'Alene area, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. He was one of about 20 suspects charged in the case.

Co-defendant Larry McMillan’s lawyer said in court documents that McMillan traveled with Amber Larsen and Shad Johnson to Seattle with the intent of selling his dump truck, but Johnson instead used the truck to settle a drug debt. McMillian was sentenced last November to 77 months in prison.

Johnson was arrested with a stolen Jeep and a handgun on Jan. 7, 2009, as detectives staked out Pinnacle Realty founder Joseph G. Ward’s home on Long Lake.

Ward was arrested that day, too, in a massive Washington State Patrol investigation into a methamphetamine- and sex-fueled criminal enterprise allegedly operated out of his home.

At the time of his arrest, Johnson told detectives the stolen Jeep he was driving had been loaned to him by Ward, according to court documents.

Ward is scheduled for trial Oct. 24 on stolen property charges.

Developer pleads not guilty to theft

A once-prominent Spokane land developer pleaded not guilty to several felonies related to an alleged drug and stolen property ring investigators believe he ran from his Long Lake home.

Joseph G. Ward, 62, founder of Pinnacle Realty, is charged with two counts of first-degree theft, seven counts of first-degree possession of stolen property and one count of possession of a stolen motor vehicle connected to a SWAT team raid at his Long Lake home on Jan. 7, 2009.

Ward was arrested that day and spent the night in jail. Washington State Patrol spent months on an investigation into alleged criminal activity ranging from insurance fraud and stolen property possession to major methamphetamine trafficking and videotaped orgies with prostitutes.

After his arrest, Ward thanked the State Patrol for stopping “something that I couldn’t stop myself,” according to court documents, and said he’d be taking daily drug tests to help stay clean.

Ward and his lawyer, Richard Bechtolt, declined comment after the arraignment.Ward is at right, Bechtolt is at left.

Past coverage

March 22, 2010: Police seek developer’s associate

Oct. 12, 2009: Shooting at Ward’s home gets man 4 months

Sept. 30, 2009: Details emerge in probe of developer

June 26, 2009: Felon suspected of WSP lot break-in

Jan. 18, 2009: Realtor’s arrest highlights perils of meth

Developer charged in drugs, sex, theft probe

A once-prominent Spokane land developer has been charged with several felonies related to an alleged drug and stolen property ring investigators believe he ran from his Long Lake home. 

Joseph G. Ward, 62, is due in Spokane County Superior Court within the next two weeks after prosecutors filed charges May 26.

The theft and stolen property charges are related to an investigation conducted by the Washington State Patrol.

A SWAT team raided Ward’s home at 15102 N. Tormey Road on Jan. 7, 2009 and seized suspected stolen property and methamphetamine.

The investigation sent to prosecutors detailed alleged criminal activity ranging from insurance fraud and stolen property possession to major methamphetamine trafficking and videotaped orgies with prostitutes.

After his arrest, Ward thanked the State Patrol for stopping “something that I couldn’t stop myself,” according to court documents, and said he’d be taking daily drug tests to help stay clean.

“We’re happy he’s getting charged with something,” said Sgt. Dave Bolton. “There’s a whole bunch of victims out there that are happy too I imagine.”

Ward, founder of Pinnacle Realty, developed malls and other properties throughout Eastern Washington, including the Spokane Valley Mall.

Past coverage:

March 22, 2010: Police seek developer’s associate

Oct. 12, 2009: Shooting at Ward’s home gets man 4 months

Sept. 30, 2009: Details emerge in probe of developer

June 26, 2009: Felon suspected of WSP lot break-in

Jan. 18, 2009: Realtor’s arrest highlights perils of meth

Shooting at Ward’s home gets man 4 months

A man accused of firing shots on a Spokane land developer’s property near Long Lake will serve four months in jail.

David K. “Ink” Sankey, 35, pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm today for a Dec. 5 incident at Joe Ward’s home at 15102 N. Tormey Road.

Sankey was originally charged in Spokane County Superior Court with two additional counts of harassment and second-degree assault after a witness, Scott A. Johnson, told police Sankey held a gun to Sankey’s girlfriend’s head “in retaliation for (her) sleeping with Joseph Ward (left),” according to a probable cause affidavit.

Sankey and his girlfriend had been living at Ward’s home, Ward told investigators. Sankey’s arrest came about a month before the Washington State Patrol raided Ward’s home, seizing stolen property and methamphetamine and launching an investigation that was recently forwarded to the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office.

WSP cited the weapons incident as a reason to bring the SWAT team on the raid.

Johnson pleaded guilty last month to nearly 30 felony charges related to the investigation. Sankey is to report to jail by Oct. 26. Ward has yet to be charged.

Read more on the Ward case here and here.

Details emerge in case against developer

 A massive investigation into a suspected drug and stolen property ring has led to allegations of a methamphetamine- and sex-fueled criminal enterprise operated by a once-prominent Spokane land developer. 

The raid in January at Joseph G. Ward’s home along the shores of Long Lake (pictured above), northwest of Spokane, sparked a months-long probe by a Washington State patrol detective that explored an underworld of drugs, sex and thievery that documents suggest was a way of life at the millionaire’s home.

“With his money, he thought he was God,” Scott Johnson, a longtime felon and former police informant who was arrested with Ward in January, told authorities.

Read the rest of my story here. Read the first story on Ward’s arrest here.

Johnson began staying at Ward’s home last year.

The 100-page probable cause affidavit offers this gem about how he operates: “Scott Johnson was stated to have been keeping a list of crimes committed by other criminals in case he was arrested again and believes he can just provide the information to detectives to get out of trouble.”

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