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Jury Acts Quickly In Drug Case Collicott Facing Mandatory 30-Year Minimum Sentence

Fri., Jan. 20, 1995

It took a U.S. District Court jury less than an hour Thursday to convict Edward P. Collicott of three federal drug-dealing charges.

The conviction means the 50-year-old Spokane man, with nine prior felony convictions, faces the likelihood of a minimum 30 years in prison.

Under federal sentencing standards, Collicott’s four prior drug convictions put him in line for the mandatory sentence.

Sheriff’s Detective Don McCabe, who headed the investigation, said Collicott’s criminal record stretches back three decades.

“The law enforcement community, in general, will be relieved of one thorn” and Spokane’s streets will be safer, McCabe said after the jury verdict.

U.S. District Judge Frem Nielsen said he would sentence Collicott on March 31 after a background report.

The gray-bearded defendant said nothing and solemnly looked at each of the 12 jurors as they were asked individually about their unanimous verdict.

Defense attorney Dan Johnson said he likely will appeal the conviction because of the judge’s rulings on evidence presented to the jury.

Collicott was convicted of operating what federal prosecutor Joseph Harrington described as a mobile drug-sales operation.

Collicott was convicted of possession with intent to distribute high-grade quantities of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.

He has been in jail since last June, when he was arrested by Spokane County sheriff’s deputies after a trip to Yakima.

Collicott admitted using heroin in a Yakima motel, but said the drugs in his rented car belonged to a woman he knew. The woman, Melaunie Zaidi, cooperated with authorities and was not charged.

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