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36th Conviction Closes Operation Doughboy Investigation Broke Up Cocaine Ring That Operated In Area For Years

The 36th and final conviction has been tallied in Spokane’s Operation Doughboy, which broke up a major cocaine distribution ring that operated for years.

Robin Muller, 44, of Belmont, Calif., will be sentenced Aug. 4 after pleading guilty Friday to conspiracy to distribute more than 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of cocaine.

Muller, formerly of Spokane, was arrested in mid-January in the San Francisco Bay Area.

He was the last suspect in the conspiracy to be nabbed.

Most of the other defendants were arrested last August after a lengthy investigation by the Spokane Regional Drug Task Force and the FBI.

Another defendant in the case, Nelson Mariani, 45, was sentenced Friday to 46 months in prison for his role in the conspiracy.

He earlier pleaded guilty to attempted possession of 2 kilograms of cocaine.

U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle also fined Mariani $1,000 and ordered him to complete three years of supervised parole after he is released from prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Rice said Mariani also agreed to forfeit $57,100 in cash found in his house and car when he was arrested.

U.S. Attorney Jim Connelly said Monday that he was pleased with the prosecutions in the Doughboy investigation.

Only two defendants went to trial, with the other 34 defendants entering guilty pleas.

“This was one of the better examples of how all law enforcement agencies - state, local and federal - forgot all about their turf problems and put together this case in a professional way,” Connelly said.