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Imprisoned contractor helped bust school booster

A former Bayview contractor now serving time in federal prison for selling marijuana helped federal drug agents bust a once-prominent Coeur d’Alene insurance agent and school booster weeks before he was sentenced last year.

That insurance agent, Jerald S. “Jerry” Carlson, 47, pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony charge of attempting to possess cocaine with intent to deliver in a plea deal that dismissed two other felony cocaine charges.

Carlson’s plea avoided a trial in which an acquaintance who sold him the cocaine that led to his arrest, Theodore L. Bruck, was scheduled to testify.

Idaho State Police detectives began investigating Bruck, 53, in 2005 after a man who claimed to work for him was arrested in Arizona with about 100 pounds of marijuana, according to court documents.

He pleaded guilty in October 2008 to charges related to the distribution of thousands of pound of marijuana from at least 2000 to April 2008 and is serving nearly 7 years in a federal prison in California.

Months before Bruck was ordered to prison, Carlson wrote a letter to a judge describing contracting work Bruck performed for Carlson over the years.

Carlson called Bruck, who had a previous federal marijuana conviction, “very reputable and trustworthy.”

Read the rest of my story in tomorrow’s Spokesman-Review.

Past coverage:

Feds wants Carlson’s car, cash

CdA businessman faces federal cocaine charges

CdA civic booster busted on cocaine charge

Cocaine dealer gets 8 years

A 27-year-old Hayden man will spend at least three years in prison for selling cocaine.

Logan M. Young was sentenced to eight years in prison on Wednesday, with eligibility for parole after three years, the Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office announced today. He’s to pay a $10,000 fine.

Young pleaded guilty in November to trafficking 28 grams or more of cocaine. The conviction stemmed from May 2008, when he bought more than two hundred grams of cocaine from a confidential informant working with the North Idaho Regional Violent Crimes Task Force.

“The large quantity of cocaine delivered by Mr. Young, along with Mr. Young’s stated desire to continue trafficking cocaine in large quantities, justify the sentence imposed in this case,” Deputy Prosecutor Ann Wick said in a prepared statement. “We hope the sentence deters him and others from dealing drugs in our community.”

Drugs, helicopters and death threats

A reputed drug runner who leased the helicopter flown by the young man who committed suicide in Spokane County Jail has been indicted in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

This came after Colin Martin reportedly tried negotiating U.S. protection for his smuggling ring in exchange for handing over his coconspirators.

Martin’s offer is detailed in the indictment filed Dec. 23, which led Canadian authorities to warn him of possible death threats.

It’s the latest development in the Operation Blade Runner drug bust, a multimillion-dollar international smuggling operation that used helicopters to distribute thousands of pounds of marijuana, cocaine and Ecstasy, landing in remote sites in Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

The indictment shows co-conspirators apparently blamed Martin for the botched run by Samuel J. Lindsay-Brown (top right), allegedly sending Blackberry messages that said Martin “will be lucky if he is not dead.”

They reportedly wanted him to pay for the lost load, estimated to be worth $4 million to $5 million. That was back in February. Canadian authorities thought the guys might be a little ticked when public court documents filed last month detailed Martin’s alleged offer to tell U.S. drug agents all about them.

Read my latest story: Drug ring details emerge

Past coverage: A tale of drugs, money and helicopters

Pilot’s story sought for big, small screens

Drug runner sentenced in closed proceeding

B.C man in coke bust to stay in jail

A Canadian citizen arrested in Eastern Washington with more than 80 pounds of cocaine will remain in federal custody, a judge ruled today.

Michael B. Yuill, 36, of Salmon Arm, B.C., has been in Spokane County Jail since his arrest on the Colville Indian Reservation Oct. 7. DEA agents found 38 kilos of cocaine in his rented Nissan Sport Utility Vehicle, according to federal court documents.

U.S Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno said in a ruling filed this morning that there isn’t proof Yuill has a plan for his release that would ensure he’d appear for court dates. While Yuill is very close to his mother and has monthly contact with his brothers, Imbrogno noted that no family members attended his bail hearing Tuesday.

“Typically, if a defendant is a citizen from outside the United States, there is strong family support present at the bail hearing with reasonable assurances the family can assist with supervision and with facilitating an individual’s return for court dates,” Imbrogno wrote.

Yuill’s public defender said his employer at a Salmon Arm saloon can help with bond, but federal prosecutors say that man is being investigated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in connection to Yuill’s charges, according to Imbrogno’s ruling. (UPDATE: prosecutors say the investigation is NOT related to the cocaine bust.)

Federal agents began tracking Yuill, an electrician and father of two with no criminal record, after Spokane International Airport police said he’d rented several SUVs in the last four months and returned them with unusually high mileage.

Read my previous story here.

B.C man busted near Spokane with 38 kilos of coke

Spokane International Airport police suspected something was going on with the Canadian man they’d seen several times. In the last four months, he’d rented several SUVs and returned them after racking up unusually high mileage – some 3,000 miles apiece.

Based on that tip, agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration began tracking Michael Barry Yuill, a 36-year-old resident of Salmon Arm, British Columbia, a small community about 300 miles north of Spokane.

Now, Yuill is facing federal drug trafficking charges in what authorities are describing as a major Eastern Washington cocaine seizure.

Read the rest of my story here.

On a Facebook page for his small business, Yuill is described as being known in Salmon Arm “the guy that dresses up as Shrek every Halloween,” referring to the popular’s children’s movie. Check it out here.

Carlson’s Faces Fed Charges March 17

This banner was hanging in the gym at Coeur d’Alene High School on Monday. Jerry Carlson, a prominent Coeur d’Alene insurance agent and school booster has been charged with possessing 5 grams of cocaine last week is part of a larger criminal conspiracy investigation involving at least a half a kilo of the drug. In addition to a state charge of possession of a controlled substance, Jerry S. Carlson faces three federal charges related to distribution of more than 500 grams of cocaine that took place over several months. Carlson faces arraignment on the federal charges @ 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 17. Kathy Plonka/Spokesman-Review.