June 21, 2013 in City

Police say inmate ran drug ring

Stephanie Schendel McClatchy-Tribune
 

A Centralia, Wash., man serving a prison sentence is facing felony charges of allegedly leading a drug trafficking operation from behind bars.

Forrest E. Amos, 30, who is incarcerated at the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Connell, Wash., will face an undetermined number of drug-related charges, said Sgt. Jim Shannon, who leads the drug investigation unit for the Centralia Police Department.

As a result of the investigation, which began in January, Amos and 20 other suspects were arrested or referred for various charges, according to a press release from Centralia police. The arrests happened in four counties, including King, Thurston, Lewis and Cowlitz. The main focus of the investigation was Amos.

The investigation led to the seizure of prescription medication valued between $49,000 and $66,000, 156 marijuana plants, one and a half pounds of dried marijuana and approximately $19,000 in cash. Police also seized five vehicles and are in the process of seizing a residence in Lewis County.

Shannon said he does not know whether the criminal case will be prosecuted locally or federally.

The organization mainly involved the trafficking of prescription pain pills, but also included the sale and delivery of marijuana, according to the release.

Amos is also accused of working as a co-conspirator of smuggling drugs into the prison system, according to the release. Amos allegedly used stolen personal information he extorted from sex offenders to set up false phone lines and make collect calls from prison to set up several sales between suppliers, sellers and customers.

The investigation concluded Monday after the DEA and the Centralia Police Department served two warrants on New Beginnings Wellness Centers in Tumwater and Aberdeen.

In February 2011, Amos opened Lewis County Green Cross, a nonprofit that guides potential patients toward obtaining medical marijuana cards from doctors and accessing dispensaries, according to past Chronicle reports. The organization was later denied a business application to open a medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Chehalis.


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