A Spokane County sheriff’s employee has been placed on paid administrative leave after sheriff’s officials learned earlier this week from a newspaper article that the employee had been indicted as part of a massive state and federal investigation into the smuggling of untaxed cigarettes from the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation.
Sheriff’s Capt. Jerry Brady said Friday that corrections officer Joseph D. Dunsmoor, 30, has been placed on paid administrative leave until the department completes an internal investigation. “The sheriff will make any kind of decisions from there,” Brady said.
Dunsmoor was required to complete a polygraph test prior to his hire on March 15, 2006, Brady said. As part of that test, Dunsmoor was asked if he had committed any crimes; he was required to respond.
“There was nothing to indicate there was any untruthfulness to the best of my knowledge,” Brady said. “I truly believe he did not know that” he was going to be indicted.
Brady said sheriff’s officials knew about a civil investigation after Dunsmoor was hired, but they didn’t know that criminal charges were pending.
Dunsmoor appeared Monday in U.S. District Court along with three other men charged in connection with a case in which federal authorities are seeking $84 million from two Spokane wholesalers accused of selling at least 4 million cartons of untaxed cigarettes to the Coeur d’Alene smoke shops. Those businesses would in turn ship cigarettes to retail outlets in Washington where they were sold to non-Indians at below-retail prices.
Dunsmoor faces one count of conspiracy to traffic in contraband cigarettes. If convicted, he could face up to five years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
According to the indictment, Dunsmoor delivered cigarettes to a location, which was redacted from the record. “In those instances, Joseph D. Dunsmoor would unload the Washington retailer’s order from the Blacksheep Distributing Inc. truck directly to the Washington retailer’s vehicle,” the indictment says.
The new indictment is the latest development in a state and federal investigation that began in 1999 and culminated with a series of raids on smoke shops on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation in 2003, which was before Dunsmoor went to work as a corrections deputy.
Click here to comment on this story »