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In brief: Police: USC athletes should face charges

Spokane Police say a pair of University of Southern California basketball players should be charged for their role in a downtown brawl last month.

Spokeswoman Monique Cotton said police officers concluded their investigation and submitted their findings and charging recommendations to prosecutors.

Though police have not released the players names, USC on March 11 announced the suspension of 7-foot-1, 260-pound James Blasczyk and 7-foot, 255-pound Dewayne Dedmon from all team activities because of a violation of team rules.

A series of fights in the downtown area sent four people to the hospital the morning of March 10.

The USC Trojans were staying in Spokane following a 76-51 loss to Washington State University in Pullman on March 9.

Jennifer Pignolet

Couple arrested on trafficking charges

Federal agents arrested a married couple on Thursday morning on suspicion they are involved in a drug trafficking ring.

Natasha M. Martin and her husband, Dean V. Martin, were named in a federal indictment along with Ian M. Harris, who was arrested Tuesday after investigators searched a warehouse along Dishman Road in Spokane Valley.

The Martins also are suspected of distributing methamphetamine from their home in the 2600 block of North Coleman Road.

The case broke open this week after reports of gunfire brought investigators to the warehouse.

Another man, Shawn Mertes, 36, was arrested on weapons charges and posted bail of $1,000 Wednesday.

Nicole Hensley

Man accused of selling counterfeit air bags

TACOMA – A federal prosecutor who has accused a Vancouver, Wash., man of selling nearly 1,000 counterfeit vehicle air bags says the fakes could fail to deploy in a crash or “deploy in a ball of fire.”

U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan of Seattle said Thursday that 25-year-old Vitaliy Yaremkiv was arrested this week on a four-count indictment charging him with trafficking in counterfeit goods.

Prosecutors allege the man imported the counterfeit Honda, Subaru and Toyota air bags from China and elsewhere, selling them over the Internet as real air bags. Durkan says sales topped $137,000.

Federal investigators think many of the bags were sold to independent garages that install them in vehicles and believe they have purchased genuine air bags.

Trial was set for May 28.

Associated Press


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Then and Now: Comstock Park

new  James M. Comstock, born in 1838 in Wisconsin, arrived in Spokane in time to witness the great fire of 1889 and start Spokane Dry Goods with Robert Paterson. It became the Crescent, Spokane’s premier department store for a century. He also worked in real estate and owned other businesses. He served a term as Spokane mayor, starting in 1899. James Comstock died in 1918.