One man was targeted by gunfire twice in 5 weeks. Another already faces an attempted murder charge for a June shooting. And several others are alleged to have sold large quantities of crack cocaine and methamphetamine throughout Spokane.
Those men were among 19 suspects arrested Wednesday as part of an 18-month drug and firearms investigation targeting Spokane-area gangs.
The arrests are not connected to Tuesday’s homicide in the West Central neighborhood, or to a gang shooting last month at Hoopfest.
“That’s an indication of the pervasiveness of the gang problem,” said Frank Harrill, the agent in charge at the Spokane office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Harrill said more arrests are expected.
The investigation, a multi-agency effort called Operation Archangel, includes more than 30 grand jury indictments in what officials describe as an ongoing effort to expose gang suspects to stiff federal penalties. The arrests, which also include dozens of state charges, began early Wednesday and continued through the afternoon. A sheriff’s helicopter monitored raids in case suspects tried to flee; law enforcement reported no problems.
“There were several different groups of gangs that we were dealing with,” said Spokane County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Kittilstved. “We’re trying to go after … people within leadership positions within these criminal organizations, not just the small guys. We know it’s not as simple as just arresting our way out of it.”
Among those charged is Andrew T. Burns, a 36-year-old Los Angeles man already in jail on an attempted murder charge for a June shooting near East Mallon Avenue and North Madelia Street.
Burns and Dunshawn D. Morris, 31, face federal crack cocaine charges for alleged deals between Jan. 20 and Feb. 10, one day before a raid at Morris’ home at 14827 E. Mission Ave.
A search warrant filed in February shows investigators believe Morris bought the drug from Alberto “Perm” Villanueva, who also was arrested Wednesday and is charged in U.S. District Court with cocaine possession.
In January, investigators watched Villanueva, 28, sell suspected crack cocaine to Morris, who then sold a half-ounce of crack cocaine to a confidential informant, according to court documents.
A confidential informant claimed to have “worked as a middle person between Perm and members of the Atlantic Drive Compton Crips, as Perm would not deal with them directly,” according to the warrant.
Members of that gang already are accused of the fatal Jan. 17 shooting of John S. Williams, 38.
One suspect, Justin A. Battle, 30, was arrested Wednesday and is charged in federal court with being a felon in possession of a firearm; Spokane police found his fingerprints on the Ruger mini rifle fugitive Edward “TD” Thomas allegedly used to kill Williams. In Battle’s apartment, police found a bullet and a firearm part that belonged to the mini rifle, according to court documents.
Also arrested Wednesday was William W. Alexander-Durr, 27, who was arraigned on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Details on the charge were not available, although Alexander-Durr was targeted in drive-by shootings in February and March, police said. He had previously pleaded guilty to riot in connection to a gang-related stabbing in front of a downtown Spokane nightclub in October.
Others arrested include: Ryan M. Hoffman, 32, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and felon in possession of firearm; Michael Anthony Green, 31, John Jacob Inglis, 24, and Michael R. Landeros, 38, felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition; Duane A. Martin, 39, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and heroin; William Earl Ortiz, 39, distribution of methamphetamine; Cayetano Talavera, 27, possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine; Tracy K. McKenzie, 45, distribution of crack cocaine; Abraham Rodriguez, 48, Oscar Rodriguez, 25, and Lori Gonzalez, 23, possession and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine; Sergio Armando Sandoval-Reyes, 24, Franklin Gabriel Vandagriff, 21, and Curtis Reese Storey, 27, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.
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