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Spokane restaurateur takes plea deal in massive drug case

A Spokane restaurant franchise owner implicated in a massive two-state Oxycontin ring will plead guilty to a misdemeanor, pay a $6,000 fine and testify against alleged partners in a deal reached Wednesday.

Sally B. Guthrie, owner of several “Flamin’ Joe’s” chicken wing restaurants in the Spokane area, was arrested in February 2013 along with more than 60 other people in a joint local and federal law enforcement investigation into alleged drug trafficking. Guthrie was indicted on a single criminal count of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance between October 2012 and her arrest.

Upon her arrest, the Drug Enforcement Agency took $6,000 from Guthrie and asked she be held on $150,000 bond. She posted that amount and has been grouped with others arrested in anticipation of a trial date later this year. Guthrie also pleaded not guilty to the conspiracy charge.

In the deal signed Wednesday, Guthrie agreed she had knowledge Arvin Carmen, one of the alleged masterminds behind the drug trade, was slinging painkillers illegally but did not inform police. If she cooperates with investigators, Guthrie will forfeit the $6,000 and she will not be prosecuted for the federal charge, according to the deal.

Instead, Guthrie will be required to pay an additional $6,000 fine and plead guilty in a Washington state court to providing a false statement to police, a misdemeanor, according to court documents.

Seventeen defendants - including Carmen and other alleged ringleaders Richard Jamal Haynes and Inaliel Cohan Lisbey - remain in custody pending trial. Tentative court dates have been scheduled to begin in July.

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