While trick-or-treaters begged for candy Tuesday, undercover police set up a deal to trade crack cocaine for handguns at a Hillyard home where two teens were murdered last summer.
After the trade, authorities arrested two suspects, including the brother of a teenage girl wounded in the August shooting spree.
Eric D. Denny, 18, and Ganyn Matthews, 19, are charged with selling crack cocaine and possessing a 9mm pistol during a drug deal.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Rice said the suspects each face a mini mum of 10 years in federal prison if convicted.
Police searched Denny’s home at 2928 E. Central and found seven additional grams of crack hidden in a bathroom.
They also seized five firearms stored in the home, long suspected as being a drug house.
Denny turned 18 on Sept. 30, making him eligible for federal prosecution. As a juvenile, he would have faced only light penalties in state court.
Both Denny and Matthews, described by authorities as “wanna-be gang members,” were living at the home.
Graffiti sprayed inside the house suggest ties to a California-based gang, one of the arresting officers said.
Denny’s mother, Jan Denny, was home when police served the search warrant. She admitted knowing her son was dealing drugs out of the home, but said she couldn’t do anything about it, authorities said.
The woman is receiving welfare and charges her son rent to stay in the house, authorities said. Court documents show Eric Denny does not have a job.
An investigation continues, and authorities say the suspect’s mother could face criminal charges.
The arrests were the latest in a series made by a task force of federal Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms agents working with local police.
The task force targets armed drug dealers, including those eager to trade drugs for guns. Weapons obtained in such transactions aren’t easily traced if used in crimes.
“It’s been quite successful,” Spokane ATF chief Robert Harper said of the effort.
In the Halloween case, an informer working with task force officers traded two 9mm semiautomatic pistols for $300 worth of crack cocaine, court documents allege.
In a second deal, the informer bought an ounce of crack from the suspects for $1,150, documents allege.
The deal, struck at Denny’s home, was consummated at a North Division motel where the transaction was secretly video taped by authorities.
The two teenage suspects were ordered held without bond Wednesday after court appearances before U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno. She set a detention hearing for next Monday.
Denny is the brother of Amanda Denny, 14, who was wounded about 2 a.m. on Aug. 9 when a gunman fired several rounds from an assault rifle at a house.
Two other girls sitting on the front porch died at the scene.
Kenneth Comeslast, 15, will be tried as an adult for the murders. Four other teens also face charges related to the shootings.
Even before the murders, police received reports that the house was a hot spot for suspected drug dealing.
“Right after the shootings, the drug dealing never stopped,” one agent said.