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Nail salon crack cocaine suspect indicted

A man accused of selling crack cocaine out of a Spokane nail salon has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Paul Lamar Rios, 30, was one of several people arrested Thursday during a widespread drug and gun investigation by the Spokane Violent Crimes Gang Task Force.

Rios and his girlfriend,  Krista L. Isaacs, 34, were arrested during a SWAT team raid at 8210 N. Lucia Ct. on Oct. 21.

Police seized about four ounces of crack cocaine from a safe in the home. They searched Isaac's nail salon, Luscious Nails and Beyond, 1721 Northwest Boulevard, the same day.

Police were authorized to search the nail shop and the home after a confidential informant used a “unwitting individual” to buy crack cocaine from Paul Rios thrice in September and once from Isaacs at the nail shop on Oct. 14.

“The unwitting source told the informant that Rios was cautious and only deals with five other people,” according to court documents.

Detectives seized the couple's cellphones to review for evidence of drug sales. No charges have been filed against Isaacs.

Rios in the Spokane County Jail on a federal hold after pleading not guilty Thursday to three counts of distribution of cocaine and one count of possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine.

A grand jury indicted Rios on Dec. 20, but authorities waited nearly a month to arrest him as part of a coordinated day of arrests called “Operation Old School.

Suspects plead not guilty to ‘07 murder

Three young people arrested for the 2007 shooting death of a 30-year-old Spokane man pleaded not guilty to murder charges Tuesday in Superior Court.

Derrick Gregory Martin-Armstead, 20; (left) Jaleesa D. Anderson, 22; and Marc A. Anderson, 20, (right) each are charged with a single count of first-degree murder.

  Martin-Armstead was arrested Oct. 24 after an informant told police he'd implicated himself in the murder of Daniel J. Burgess during conversations at the jail in May and June 2008.

Burgess was shot to death on Nov. 12, 2007 while in the living room of a home at 2413 N. Dakota Ave. The three suspects remain in jail.

The murder investigation has led to two search warrants targeting controlled substances this month.

On. Nov. 3, detectives search a 2000 Buick LaSabre belonging to Martin-Armstead as part of a crack cocaine investigation. A confidential informant had bought crack cocaine from Martin-Armstead in July and August.

Martin-Armstead was driving the Buick when he was arrested on the murder charge. He told Detective Jeff Barrington that “he did sell crack cocaine but that he was not involved in any homicide,” according to a search warrant.

Barrington and Detective Kevin Langford seized only a box for a scale from the Buick. Five days later, Barrington went to an apartment at 202 E. Wedgewood Ave. to talk to Tyrone J. Carell about the homicide investigation.

Barrington said he saw a drug scale, marijuana bud and bong in the apartment, which smelled of marijuana. He came back less than two hours later with a search warrant, seizing suspected marijuana, paraphernalia, and a semi-automatic handgun.

Carell, who was targeted in the Hoopfest shooting in June 2010, has not been charged.

Phones probed in nail salon drug case

Spokane police are reviewing cell phone records to build a case against a couple suspected of selling crack cocaine out of a nail salon.

Paul Lamar Rios, 29, and Krista L. Isaacs, 34, were arrested during a SWAT team raid at 8210 N. Lucia Court on Oct. 21.

Isaac's nail salon, Luscious Nails and Beyond, 1721 Northwest Boulevard, was searched the same morning. Police seized about four ounces of crack cocaine from a safe in the Lucia Court home.

Police were authorized the search the nail shop and the home after a confidential informant used a “unwitting individual” to buy crack cocaine from Paul Rios thrice in September and once from Isaacs at the nail shop on Oct. 14.

“The unwitting source told the informant that Rios was cautious and only deals with five other people,” according to court documents.

Police filed a search warrant Tuesday that authorized them to search Rios and Isaacs' cell phone records for phone logs, photos and text messages related to crack cocaine sales in Spokane.

Rios and Isaacs are out of jail on $5,000 bond each. Prosecutors have not filed charges.

Woman in family crack case sentenced

A woman whose mother helped her son sell crack cocaine has been sentenced to about nine years in federal prison.

Nicole D. Hilliard, 34, is to serve 110 months in prison for possession with intent to deliver 50 grams or more of cocaine.

Hilliard was in drug treatment before being ordered to federal prison during a hearing last week in U.S. District Court in Spokane.

Her mother, Tyna A. Hilliard, 54, was sentenced in Spokane County Superior Court earlier this month after pleading guilty to involving a minor in an unlawful controlled substance transaction. She was credited for one day already served in jail and will be on probation for a year.

Hilliard has previous felony convictions for first-degree robbery and attempted first-degree robbery in connection with the shooting death of a man during a dice game in 2002.

Letters of support from friends said she completed drug rehabilitation and has been attending church. She's now in the Spokane County Jail awaiting transport to prison.

Cops: Man left crack cocaine in patrol car

A Spokane gang member accused of helping a murder suspect now faces federal drug charges for 38 grams of crack cocaine found in a patrol car after his arrest.

A confidential informant arranged a drug buy with Christopher “Baby Boy” Route, 24, at a convenience store near East Illinois Avenue and North Perry Street on March 22 that led to his arrest, according to an affidavit by FBI Task Force Officer Jeff Barrington that was filed in U.S. District Court on Monday.

Investigators followed Route to an address in the 2500 block of North Hogan, then arrested him after he left in a car and drove northbound on Perry Street.
 
Police found $1,500 and two cellphones on him. They also found a large baggie containing 14 smaller baggies of crack under the front passenger seat of the patrol car after Route was booked into jail.
 
Route had felony warrants in Spokane County Superior Court, including one for criminal assistance for allegedly lying to detectives about what he knew regarding the murder of John S. Williams in January 2010.

According to court documents, Route and other reputed gang members attended a birthday party at Casey's Restaurant and Lounge before taking a limousine to an after party at 5405 N. Crestline St.

Route, who was charged with assault in connection with a gang murder in 2005, told police he stayed at the party for only about 30 minutes and left when a fight broke out. 

 Route said he didn't know anything about the shooting, but detectives say he was present when Williams punched out a car window, then was shot to death, allegedly by Edward “TD” Thomas.

Crack cocaine suspect arrested w/ $15k

A suspected crack cocaine dealer was arrested with $15,000 at his East Central Spokane apartment this week.

Joseph K. “J” Davis, 32, was arrested on Wednesday after selling crack on four occasions in an undercover police sting, according to a search warrant prepared by the Spokane Police Department.

Police believe Davis imports cocaine to Spokane from California, where he is wanted on an extraditable drug warrant in Redding.

An undercover detective used a “cooperative individual” to buy crack from Davis on Dec. 2, Jan. 11, Jan. 14 and on Monday, according to the search warrant. Police also attached a GPS tracker to Davis' 2000 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

They searched his apartment at 1019 N. Crestline St. on Wednesday and recovered $15,895, a cell phone, drug scale and suspected crack cocaine.

Davis appeared in Superior Court on Thursday via video feed from the jail with his lawyer, Chris Phelps. He was given $1,000 bond for the drug charge but remains in jail on the California warrant.

Mom, son, grandma face crack charges

The daughter of a Spokane woman accused of helping her 14-year-old grandson sell crack cocaine is facing a lengthy federal prison sentence for the same drug.

Nicole D. Hilliard is “doing well” in treatment for drug treatment and is expected to participate until the middle of February, according to court documents prepared by her lawyer.

Hilliard's son and mother, Tyna A. Hilliard, were arrested last week after a confidential informant bought crack cocaine from the boy, who police say was driven to the scene by Tyna Hilliard.

“Tyna advised that she had complete knowledge of (the boy) selling the crack cocaine,” according to a probable cause affidavit prepared by Spokane police. The informant said the boy had said “that he pays his grandmother to drive him around since he was only 14 and did not have a license.”

Tyna Hilliard, 53, was released from jail on her own recognizance last week and is to be arraigned Jan. 3.

Her daughter pleaded guilty to a federal charge of possession with intent to deliver 50 grams or more of cocaine in October after being indicted last summer.  She's to be sentenced early next year in U.S. District Court in Spokane. The charge carries a minimum of 10 years in prison and a four years probation, or at least 20 years in prison if she has a previous felony drug conviction, which she does not appear to have in Spokane County.

Nicole Hilliard does have previous felony convictions locally for first-degree robbery and attempted first-degree robbery in connection with the shooting death of a man during a dice game in 2002.
  

Shot pregnant woman faces charges

A Spokane woman who was nine months pregnant and unarmed when she was shot by a Washington State Patrol sergeant during a drug raid has been charged with drug trafficking.

Keamia D. Powell, 24, was allowed to leave jail on her own recognizance Wednesday under the condition that she report directly to a west Spokane drug rehabilitation center.

Powell has been living at the center since she was released from the hospital after being shot in the shoulder in what Sgt. Lee Slemp, a 25-year veteran, has told investigators was an accidental shooting.

Read my full story here.

Past coverage:

Oct. 6: Police want drug charges filed against pregnant woman

Oct. 1: WSP sergeant says shooting was accidental

Oct. 1 Sergeant who shot pregnant woman is 25-year veteran

Sept. 24: State patrol officer shoots unarmed pregnant woman

Pregnant lady shot by WSP faces charges

An unarmed pregnant woman shot during a drug raid in Spokane nearly two weeks ago faces felony crack cocaine charges under a police recommendation announced Wednesday.

Keamia D. Powell, 24, gave birth shortly after she was shot in the shoulder Sept. 24 at 1405 N. Lincoln St. No. 11, where she lives with her mother, Aletha A. Robinson, 41.

Investigators are recommending Powell and Robinson each be charged with felonies after detectives found crack cocaine in their apartment as part of an ongoing probe into drug dealing in the Moscow-Pullman area.

The apartment is where police arrested a woman caught on tape assaulting her young son at the downtown bus plaza in November. Powell is the woman’s niece.

Read my full story here.

Past coverage:

Oct. 6: WSP sergeant says shooting was accidental

Oct. 1 Sergeant who shot pregnant woman is 25-year veteran

Sept. 24: State patrol officer shoots unarmed pregnant woman

WSP sergeant says shooting was accidental

A Washington State Patrol sergeant who shot an unarmed pregnant woman during a drug raid last week has told investigators it was “an accidental discharge,” sheriff’s officials announced Thursday.

Sgt. Lee Slemp (left, in 2006) said he accidentally fired his weapon as the woman, whose name has not been released, attempted to flee out a window at 1405 N. Lincoln St. on Sept. 24, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said.

Slemp, a 25-year WSP veteran, described the shooting to investigators in his first in-depth interview on Wednesday.

The news comes two days after Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste told The Spokesman-Review that he had no reason to believe the shooting was accidental.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Sept. 29: WSP names officer in shooting

Sept. 24: State patrol officer shoots unarmed pregnant woman

WSP chief denies accidental shooting rumors

The chief of Washington State Patrol said Tuesday he has no reason to believe last week’s shooting of an unarmed pregnant woman in Spokane was accidental.

“I don’t have anything to lead me to believe that,” Chief John Batiste said Tuesday during an interview with The Spokesman-Review editorial board.

The possibility that the Friday shooting by WSP Sgt. Lee Slemp during a drug raid in Spokane was accidental has been reported by Spokane television station KXLY this week, which cited unnamed sources.

Read the rest of my story here.

Reagan: No update on shot pregnant lady

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, which is leading the investigation into last week’s shooting of an unarmed pregnant woman by a Washington State Patrol sergeant, said Monday it had no idea whether the woman was still in the hospital, whether her condition was improving or if she’d given birth.

Sgt. Dave Reagan, the department’s spokesman, said he didn’t check on the woman’s condition because the primary focus of the sheriff’s office probe is on the shooting, adding that he lacks the authority to publicly disclose her identity because a separate law enforcement agency is in charge of the investigation into alleged drug activity at her home.

Meanwhile, the woman’s family declined comment Monday but a Spokane TV station reported that labor was induced at a local hospital and that she gave birth over the weekend. The woman, who was 39 weeks pregnant, was shot once in the shoulder area Friday while investigators served a search warrant at her apartment, 1405 N. Lincoln.

Past coverage:

Sept. 24: WSP sergeant shoots unarmed pregnant woman

19 arrested in gangs, drugs, guns sweep

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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 today 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, nor to a gang shooting last month at Hoopfest.

“That’s an indication of the pervasiveness of the gang problem,” said Frank Harrill, agent in charge at the Spokane office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Read the rest of my story here.

Above is video of the raids shot from a sheriff’s helicopter.

Suspect in murder admits to crack charge

A Spokane man accused of lying to police his knowledge of a fatal shooting in January faces at least 20 months in prison for a crack cocaine conviction when he’s sentenced later this summer.

Eric “Smalls” Burton, Jr., recently pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. He’s to be sentenced Aug. 9. 

Burton had 26 baggies of crack cocaine when Spokane police stopped him last August. The officers knew Burton had a Department of Corrections warrant for his arrest, said Burton’s lawyer, Chris Phelps.

Phelps said the arrest was “ripe for pretrial suppression” because of issues with the police search, but “we have voluntarily declined to pursue those.” Phelps said the case had been sent to federal prosecutors, but they declined to pursue it unless Burton didn’t plead guilty as charged.

Burton’s standard sentencing range calls for 20 to 60 months; Deputy Prosecutor Eugene Cruz said last week he’ll recommending the low end.

Burton also is charged with first-degree rendering criminal assistance for allegedly lying to police about what he knew about the murder of John S. Williams on Jan. 17.

Burton was arrested the day of the murder after police found the Ruger mini-rifle used to kill Williams in a rental car Burton drove to the scene, but the first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm charge was dismissed in April because Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla said “there is insufficient evidence to proceed with the prosecution of this case until further investigation,” according to court documents.

The new rendering criminal assistance charge was filed against Burton early this month. He was arrested June 2 and posted $50,000 bail the next day.

His cousins, Cedric E. “Dirty” Burton and James C. Henderson, remain in jail on charges connected to the murder.

The accused triggerman, Edward “TD” Thomas, remains a fugitive, as do Marc A. “Bookie” Carter, John E. Burton, 27, and Christopher J. Route, 23.

Past coverage: June 3: Seven charged in January gang murder

Shooting suspect part of crack investigation

Although a shooting in northeast Spokane on Thursday likely wasn’t gang-related, the Los Angeles man accused in the incident was arrested earlier this year in a crack cocaine investigation targeting several gangs.

Members of one of the gangs, the Atlantic Drive Compton Crips, were allegedly involved in a January fatal shooting – the only homicide in the city of Spokane so far this year.

Andrew T. Burns, 36, is in jail on an assault charge after witnesses told police he fired at least three shots at Kenneth R. Grooms, 40.

Read the rest of my story here.

Not guilty plea in church rape case

A church worker pleaded not guilty today to a rape charge in which police allege he tied wire around a woman’s face, fastened her to a metal pipe in the basement of a Spokane church and then sexually assaulted her.

Michael J. Bosch, 47, appeared before Superior Court Judge Neal Rielly, who accepted the not guilty plea and set a trial date of April 19.

According to court records, Bosch met the woman Feb. 6 on East Sprague before going to Mending Fences Ministry, 1906 E. Sprague Ave., where Bosch worked and had a key.

Bosch smoked crack cocaine, according to court records, before tying a wire around the woman’s face and mouth.

He placed a plastic bag over her head and tied her to a pipe prior to the sexual assault.

The woman escaped by smashing a window and running to a nearby motor home, where she called police.

Past coverage: Rape alleged at Spokane church

Crack bust targets gang members

A drug bust in Spokane that uncovered crack cocaine targeted members of the same gang that detectives believe has ties to an unsolved homicide last month.

Sheriff’s detectives raided two homes Wednesday as part of an ongoing investigation into suspected drug dealing by members of the Atlantic Drive Crips gang, according to search warrant filed in Spokane County District Court.

Andrew T. Burns, 35, of Los Angeles, was arrested at 14827 E. Mission in Spokane Valley, where detectives seized crack cocaine, money and a 2006 Dodge Charger, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives also seized marijuana from a home at 2502 E. Marshall.

The investigation stems from tips that Atlantic Drive gangster were selling large amounts of crack cocaine, according to a search warrant.

Affiliates of that gang were present at a party on Jan. 17 that ended with the shooting death of 38-year-old John S. Williams III.

Drug or gun charges have been filed against at least two party goers, but no one has been charged with murder.