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Marijuana growing patches found in Clark Fork Delta

HABITAT — Workers in the major project to shore up island erosion and restore wildlife habitat in Idaho's Clark Fork Delta are doing a little unexpected weeding.

Illegal marijuana growing plots have been discovered two consecutive years, the Idaho Fish and Game Department reports.

Several patches were discovered last summer during vegetation planting and monitoring efforts in delta islands at the northeast end of Lake Pend Oreille. The patches were reported to authorities and were removed, says Phil Cooper, IFG spokesman in Coeur d'Alene. 

More illegal marijuana patches have been found this season and were recently destroyed, he said.

"The Clark Fork River delta islands are popular with canoeists, kayakers and other recreationists, and it is an important hunting area in the fall," Cooper said. "Due to the fact that grow patches are sometimes protected by the growers, recreationists heading to the islands are advised to stay clear of patches of marijuana plants they may encounter."

"Individuals in the area who see illegal patches of marijuana are encouraged to contact a local law enforcement agency."

Kettle Falls 5 sentencing pushed to October

Members of a family who grew medical marijuana on their farm near Kettle Falls will wait until October to learn whether they will spend time in federal prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas O. Rice on Thursday approved a delay of the sentencing hearing for Rhonda Lee Firestack-Harvey, Rolland Gregg, Michelle Gregg and Jason Zucker. The hearing had originally been scheduled for next week in Spokane.

The defendants successfully asked that Rice delay their hearing until both sides have had time to review trial transcripts. The parties remain at odds over how long the defendants should spend in prison after a jury in March found them guilty of manufacturing between 50 and 100 marijuana plants in violation of federal law. The family has asked for a sentence of probation, while the U.S. Attorney’s Office wants them to spend five years behind bars.

 The legal landscape on medicinal marijuana laws could change greatly by the time the family appears again before Rice. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear later this year the case of Charles Lynch, a Los Angeles man who was found guilty in 2010 of manufacturing marijuana. Lynch appealed his conviction after Congress passed a law last year prohibiting funding for Department of Justice cases targeting state-sanctioned medical marijuana operations.

The Kettle Falls Five, as they are known in national stories on the case, unsuccessfully tried multiple times before trial to have their case thrown out based on Congress’ decision. Zucker eventually took a plea deal, and the family’s patriarch, Larry Harvey, was released from prosecution after his diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer.

Yakima man, found with meth, cocaine and heroin, gets appellate repreive

A Yakima County man earned a reprieve Tuesday from a five-year sentence for drug possession when appellate judges ruled a search of his bag by deputies was unlawful, despite his admission he possessed methamphetamine.

Heath Wisdom was pulled over near Moxee, Washington, in October 2010 driving a truck and towing an all-terrain vehicle, both of which were reported stolen. Yakima County Sheriff's Deputy Nate Boyer found a pipe used to smoke methamphetamine on Wisdom, according to court documents. After reading Wisdom his Miranda rights, Boyer asked if there was methamphetamine in the truck, and Wisdom told him it was lying on the front seat, according to court documents. Boyer found a zipped-up "shaving kit-like" bag in the cab, which he opened to discover meth, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and $2,700 in cash.

Read the entire opinion handed down Tuesday by appellate judges here.

Wisdom petitioned the court to throw out that evidence, saying the search of the bag was made without a warrant. Two judges on a three-member appellate panel, who heard the case in December, agreed and reversed Wisdom's conviction.

"Despite the banality ofthe facts, this appeal raises a fundamental question concerning whether Washington State will be a police state, in which law enforcement officers employ their own discretion when determining to search property, or a state under the rule of law with magistrates prejudging the validity of police searches," wrote Washington Appellate Judge George B. Fearing for the majority.

In dissent, Judge Kevin Korsmo said the decision "boggles the mind."

"A thief does not have a privacy interest in stolen property that society should recognize as reasonable and, thus, Mr. Wisdom had no standing to contest the inventory search," Korsmo wrote.

The opinion was published Tuesday and will stand as precedent pending an appeal to the Washington Supreme Court or another case overturning the findings.

Sheriff continues push for drug task force funding

UPDATE: Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich responded to Commissioner Shelly O'Quinn's criticism by questioning why the County Commission has not held public budget hearings in recent years to address the needs of individual departments.

"Perhaps if they had budget meetings like we use to we could have face to face discussions before they set budgets," Knezovich wrote in an email, responding to the original blog post. "They have not had budget hearings in 3 years."  

Knezovich said he and his staff informed commissioners at a meeting in August they would be underfunded in 2015 by about $1 million. He disputes claims that the issue was sprung on commissioners in January.

"It is disingenuous for O’Quinn to then say that we just popped over in January and surprised them with this news," Knezovich wrote. 

The original blog post follows. 

ORIGINAL POST: Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich is continuing his pleas for funding from County Commissioners to save a drug task force targeting mid- to high -level trafficking. 

"I lose my entire narcotics operation," Knezovich told commissioners Al French and Shelly O'Quinn on Tuesday. Lt. John Knowles earlier told commissioners without more money from county coffers, the Spokane Regional Drug Task Force would run out of money in October.

Tuesday's presentation followed a similar plea from Knezovich in October, and a news conference in January during which the sheriff said the task force would be insolvent by June. Knowles said the task force had moved some money and employees around, giving them a reprieve for several months, but declining grant dollars and money seized from drug raids have imperiled the task force for many years.

"If we can get Spokane County and the City of Spokane Valley, with just salary and benefits 100 percent, we can maintain" adequate funding reserves, Knowles said. That price tag would be about $370,000 annually, he added.

Commissioner Shelly O'Quinn said she was hesitant to approve that money because the sheriff is also asking for an additional $1 million to pay overtime to deputies who are filling shifts for about 16 vacant positions with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. Knowles said the office was having difficulty attracting high-quality candidates with a background in law enforcement because of character issues.

"When the sheriff comes in three weeks into the new year and says he needs an extra million dollars, and we're only three weeks into the budget, it's just - there's credibility issues there," O'Quinn said. 

Knezovich reiterated that he'd go before voters and campaign for a two-tenths of a cent sales tax increase to pay for public safety services. The sheriff estimates that would bring in about $9 million annually. 

After a spate of generosity at the polls, Spokane voters turned down a three-tenths sales tax increase to pay for transportation services at the ballot box last week but did approve an extension of a one-tenth sales tax for juvenile detention services.

Commissioners took no action on Knezovich's request Tuesday. 

Man reports theft of cash, drugs

Spokane Police are investigating the theft of large amounts of cash and drugs from a home in the 4700 block of North ‘A’ Street last month.

The homeowner reported that someone had broken into his home, ripped open the side of a gun safe and stole $89,000 in cash and between 16 and 19 full bottles of Hydrocodone, according to court documents. He told police that several people knew about the contents of his safe.

Police have identified a suspect in the theft, who had multiple cuts on his hands and arms, according to court documents. The cuts are thought to have been caused by the jagged edges of the ripped metal of the safe. No charges have been filed in the case.

‘Kettle Falls Five’ defendants to be free ahead of sentencing

The defendants found guilty of growing between 50 and 100 marijuana plants on their land near Kettle Falls may remain out of custody ahead of a sentencing hearing scheduled for June, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas O. Rice ruled Tuesday.

Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, Rolland Gregg and Michelle Gregg were convicted by a jury earlier this month of manufacturing a controlled substance. Attorneys say the conviction does not come with a minimum five-year sentence as originally charged, and in the coming weeks will prepare arguments that seek to mitigate the trio's jail time. A sentencing hearing is tentatively scheduled for June 10 in Spokane.

Prosecutors Earl Hicks and Caitlin Baunsgard with the U.S. Attorney's Office for Eastern Washington had asked Rice to rule by Wednesday whether he would jail the members of the family pending their sentencing hearing. Prosecutors said the trio face a maximum 20-year prison sentence based on their crimes and should be jailed to prevent them from fleeing the country or contacting other people involved in the case before sentencing. Rice declined to do so.

A fourth defendant, Jason Zucker, is scheduled to be sentenced a week later. Zucker pleaded guilty to manufacturing more than 100 marijuana plants and told jurors at trial he provided the initial 75 plants that were used to start a grow operation on Firestack-Harvey's property in Stevens County in spring 2011. Prosecutors have recommended Zucker, who already has two convictions on drug-related charges, serve 16 months in prison.

Larry Harvey, the patriarch of the family, was dismissed from the case before trial after being diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.

Several interested onlookers in the legal community and legal marijuana industry in Washington state weighed in on last week's verdict in Saturday's edition of the Spokesman-Review.

Prosecutors ask to jail members of ‘Kettle Falls Five’ before sentencing

The United States Attorney's Office for Eastern Washington has made official its request to jail three members of a Stevens County marijuana growing collective before their sentencing on federal drug charges.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Hicks asked that Rhonda Lee Firestack-Harvey, Rolland Gregg and Michelle Gregg be taken into custody Tuesday immediately after a jury returned a conviction on manufacturing between 50 and 100 marijuana plants. U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice said he would allow the trio to leave the courthouse, but that he would entertain the request if it was made in writing.

Hicks' colleague Catilin Baunsgard did just that Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the verdict was delivered. You can read the U.S. motion to detain the three defendants below.


Kettle Falls Motion for Detention

Hicks' request drew some angry responses from supporters of the family in the courtroom for the verdict Tuesday. But in the filing, the government argues that federal law requires the defendants to be detained because they face a potential maximum sentence of 20 years.

Attorneys for the group said Tuesday night they believed the five-year minimum prison sentence that originally applied to the defendants on the manufacturing charge still held true, despite the jury's finding that they grew fewer than 100 plants. Federal law is not clear on that issue, and other marijuana advocacy organizations said there may not be a minimum sentence for the charge the trio was found guilty of. 

Jurors acquitted the group of most of the charges against them, including distributing drugs and possessing firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes.

The government asked in its motion that Rice decide on the detention issue by April 3.

Armed career criminal tries to check bag with gun at Northern Quest

A 54-year-old convicted felon tried to leave a bag containing drugs and a revolver at the Northern Quest Resort & Casino last week, prompting criminal charges and a federal investigation.

John B. Suttle was booked into Spokane County Jail on Friday after a coat check attendant reported he tried to check a bag containing a hypodermic needle. A later search of the bag revealed a .22 revolver and a substance that tested positive for methamphetamine and another that looked like heroin, according to court documents.

When asked about the gun, Suttle said he found it outside the casino and picked it up to sell because he needed money, according to court documents. Because of his prior convictions, an investigative agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms arrived to interview Suttle, who said he knew he shouldn't be handling a gun as a convicted felon, according to court documents.

Suttle faces charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing drugs with intent to deliver.

Second man accused of selling heroin arrested

Spokane police arrested 55-year-old Ernie Hern this week, the second of a pair accused of selling heroin out of a residence in the East Central neighborhood through March of last year.

Hern faces multiple possession and sale of drug charges after police used a confidential informant to buy heroin from him in January 2013, according to court documents. The informant allegedly twice bought heroin at home in the 200 block of Fiske Street, once from Hern and a second time a month later from Timothy Price, 36.

When authorities raided the house in March 2013, Price was there, but Hern wasn't. Price was arrested and scheduled to be arraigned, but never showed up, according to court records. He was taken back into custody last month and has pleaded not guilty to a drug trafficking charge.

Both Hern and Price have criminal histories that include past drug charges. Prosecutors are asking Hern be held on $1,000 bond in the new charge.

Smoking hazardous to wanted man’s health, presumed innocence

A man with an outstanding warrant revealed a needle in his waistband while reaching for one last smoke before going to jail Sunday night at Northern Quest Casino, according to court records.

An officer initially approached Preston Livingston, 28, because he was slumped over in the driver's seat of a pickup truck at the Airway Heights casino, according to court records. Livingston told the officer, who said it appeared as though Livingston were drunk, that he was waiting for a friend who was inside, according to court records.

A check of Livingston's records revealed a warrant for his arrest. When the officer told Livingston he would be taken into custody, Livingston asked for one last cigarette before going to jail. While reaching for the smoke, the officer noticed the needle in Livingston's waistband.

After handcuffing Livingston, the officer again checked the truck. Near the console, he spied another needle, a tourniquet, a scale and a black pouch, according to court records. When asked about the items, Livingston told the officer his friend was using them to get high and that he used methamphetamine, but hadn't in the past 10 hours.

Livingston was released from jail without bail, according to jail records. No charges have yet been filed against him for the drug paraphernalia, according to court records.

Pair of alleged ‘best friend’ teenage car thieves arrested

A pair of teenagers accused of stealing multiple cars they dumped when the gas ran out are both in jail facing auto and firearm theft charges.

Eli Olson, 19, was booked into Spokane County Jail on Friday after police pulled him over driving a Dodge SUV that had been reported stolen, along with a .45 caliber handgun that had been in the vehicle at the time it was taken. Olson said he was high on methamphetamine at the time of his arrest and that he'd stolen the car along with 18-year-old Austyn Witcher, who is "like a brother to him," according to court documents.

In a subsequent interview, Olson said he and Witcher stole five vehicles that had been reported stolen by "punching the ignition," manipulating the starter so that it can be engaged by a screwdriver, according to court documents. The two ditched the stolen vehicles when they stopped running and broke into another nearby car, their preference being Dodge and Nissan model cars, Olson said.

Witcher was subsequently arrested driving a 2000 Dodge truck that had also been reported stolen. Investigators recovered a gun in his belongings at a girlfriend's apartment, but the .45 handgun is thought to have been sold on the West Side, earning Witcher an additional money laundering charge.

Bail was set for Olson and Witcher on their charges at $25,000 and $50,000, respectively.

Man who denies selling cocaine found with cocaine

A 31-year-old man arrested at the Spokane Valley Mall with cash and cocaine in his pockets faces more jail time after twice denying to officers he possessed drugs.

Johnnie Counts is being held in Spokane County Jail on drug sale and prisoner possession charges after his arrest around 2:30 p.m. Friday by a deputy assigned to the mall, according to court documents. Deputies placed Counts under arrest on an outstanding warrant and searched his pant pockets, revealing more than $700 in cash. Counts was asked if he was holding drugs and given a warning their discovery at the jail would bring "more trouble," according to the deputy's sworn statement.

Counts told the deputy, "I used to use and sell cocaine; not anymore," according to court documents.

Searched before booking, Counts was given another chance to inform officers of drugs. Again he declined, according to court documents. Jail officers then discovered a substance that tested as crack cocaine falling to the floor during a strip search. According to investigators, the drugs were packaged for sale. Because he was being detained by jail officers when the drugs were found, prosecutors are pursuing a prisoner-in-possession charge for Counts.

Counts is being held in lieu of $15,000 bond on the two felony charges, according to jail records.


Western Washington home tests positive for meth

A trio of college students on the West side are apartment hunting after health officials condemned their rental home, which tested positive for methamphetamine.

The whole story from The Associated Press, based on reporting from Seattle TV station KOMO News, follows:

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — A health official in Bellingham, Wash., says three college students who began to feel dizzy and lethargic after living for several months in a rental house have been told to find a new home after the house tested positive for methamphetamine. 
KOMO-TV reports (http://is.gd/5u36Oo ) that Whatcom County Health Department supervisor Jeff Hegedus says the Western Washington University students contacted the health department to ask that the home be tested. 
Hegedus said Friday that an initial health department test found meth contamination well above Whatcom County’s legal limit. A second test done by a decontamination contractor came back with an even higher meth reading. 
The health department official says the house was marked “unfit for occupancy” and the owners were told to hire a licensed decontamination contractor, which they did.

© Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Wiretaps scrutinized in multi-state drug case

A case involving 62 defendants and allegedly $20 million worth of California drugs sold on the West Coast continues its circuitous trek through the federal courts, with some suspects objecting to the government’s use of wiretapping in the investigation.


Federal authorities announced raids in February that ended in the apprehension of what investigators said were dozens of members of a sophisticated drug delivery ring, including at least nine people in Spokane. Among those arrested was Sally Guthrie, a restaurateur who owned three Flamin’ Joes locations in the county at the time she was booked.

Suspects in California and Western Washington were also arrested, all charged with peddling OxyContin, an oft-abused prescription painkiller. Illicit use is so prevalent the Food and Drug Administration announced in September new labeling guidelines for the drug and ordered studies by pharmaceutical companies into its long-term effects.


Investigators allege five people oversaw the operation, charging them with monitoring a continuing criminal enterprise. Prosecutors announced their intentions to prove Gilbert Leroy Madison, currently listed in custody of the Yakima County Jail, as “a leader and supervisor” of the plot, which allegedly ran from 2008 through January.


Defendants are so numerous they have been grouped into three parties by the court. Some have been housed in the Spokane County Jail, others in Benton and Yakima counties, while some remain out-of-custody throughout the West Coast. The case has kept court schedulers busy, with expected trial dates of May, then December, pushed to May 2014 and likely headed for further delays. Release of more than 100,000 pages of investigative discovery hit a snag when the government inadvertently released information that compromised one of its undercover informants, according to court documents.


Shindona Jones, a Los Angeles woman currently in custody of the Kittitas County Jail, has requested the government turn over the details of its wiretaps in the case. Investigators bugged the cellphones of the defendants, producing hours of recorded phone calls that prosecutors plan to admit as evidence. But Jones’ attorney says the government is remaining tight-lipped about the technology involved, potentially infringing on the woman’s Constitutional rights.


In retort, the government has said keeping such information confidential serves a public safety interest and should remain secret.


A federal judge ruled last month that the details of wiretapping technology used by investigators should be made available to defense attorneys. Officials briefed attorneys of their methods during a hearing held Tuesday in Spokane.


 The distributors in the case face potential fines of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison, while those allegedly in charge of the operation could be sentenced to life in prison.

8 outboards ought to get you a big fish

BOATING — "But officer, we're just out fishing…"

I've seen boat set up something like this for federal drug enforcement being transported on I-90 near Seattle.  Seems the feds have to keep up with the speed-boating criminals. 

But outboards totaling 2,000 hp? Can you imaging the fuel bill?

The photo above has been going around the Internet for a while, with this explanation, verified by Snopes:

2,000 hp drug runner boat from Europe.
Used to run cross the English Channel three times a week, it was a blure on British Coast Guard radar.
Enforcement called in a  brought in a special high speed helicopter to chase it. Drugs were found on board. You'd need a good cash flow just to run it. 
  • Yamaha Vx250 outboard engines list price: $23,000 EACH!
  • $23,000 X 8 = $184,000.00 just for the motors!

Police seek man who abandoned backpack of drugs

Spokane Police detectives need the public's help identifying a man who ran from a security guard last month, abandoning a backpack full of drugs as he fled.

The suspect was seen in the downtown area on Aug. 1 at 2:30 p.m., according to a news release. Police did not indicate the exact amount or how many drugs were in the man's backpack.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Drug Tip Line at 509-625-8210.

Two Idaho cattle operations, sued by FDA, agree to stop selling overly-drugged cows

Two cattle operations and dairies in southwestern Idaho have agreed to stop over-drugging cows - at such high levels that the medications could pass to human consumers - in response to a lawsuit from the federal government, the AP reports. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sued T & T Cattle and T & T Cattle Pearl, both dairy farms and livestock dealers in Parma, along with owner Gregory T. Troost and manager Mark A. Mourton earlier this month in Boise's U.S. District Court; click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.

The FDA contended that animals at the farms were given medications in such high doses that once they were sold for human consumption their meat contained illegally high drug residue levels that could be dangerous for some consumers.

Under the agreement filed in federal court Wednesday, the farm operators said they would keep better treatment records, refrain from selling animals that have illegally high drug residue in their tissues for human consumption, and stop using animal medications in unapproved ways. "We're working wholeheartedly with the FDA and trying to get this whole matter resolved," said Troost on Thursday. "Our action plan is in place and I think it's working very well so far."

Three men facing charges for drug sales near Grant Elementary

The three Spokane men implicated in a drug-selling operation based out of a repair shop near Grant Elementary School remain mired in legal proceedings, as the building — sold in May — falls into disrepair.

Gerry Elerding, 41, was in Spokane County Superior Court on Wednesday after failing to meet with his attorney as scheduled ahead of a court date later this month. Elerding faces a charge of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance after undercover informants reportedly bought hydrocodone pills from him in March at Lonnie's Auto Repair, 826 S. Perry Ave. Elerding initially pleaded guilty to the charge, earning a year in prison, but he asked for that pleading to be thrown out in July. The state asked Elerding be held without bail Wednesday.

The previous owner of the property, Lonnie Sandros, 59, was arrested in a police bust that occurred May 15. He pleaded not guilty to a charge of unlawful use of a building for drug purposes and is set to appear at trial in September. Sandros sold the garage, which was closed for code violations early in May, to R & G South Perry, LLC, shortly after his arrest, according to tax documents filed with the Spokane County Assessor's Office.

Police arrested Joseph Johnson, 52, in the raid and found a white pill on him later identified as hydrocodone, according to court documents. Detectives say Johnson sold crystal meth to an undercover informant at the body shop in March. Johnson pleaded not guilty to possession of the hydrocodone and delivery of the methamphetamine. His trial is set for October.

Elerding, Sandros and Johnson have lengthy criminal histories, according to court records. Elerding was accused of attacking a police K9 unit in August 2011.

The Lonnie's sign still hangs above the building at 826 S. Perry, though it is unoccupied and the walls show signs of wear.

Newport inmate smuggles drugs into jail

A Newport man being booked into Pend Oreille County Jail on Thursday was caught smuggling a stash of drugs into his shorts.

The inmate, identified as 25-year-old Clinton E. Trickel, cut holes into his waisteband to hide hydrocodone, oxycodone, marijuana and a pipe, but jail staff found it, according to a Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Office news release.

Trickel had several outstanding warrants on bail jumping and lying to authorities from last month, Pend Oreille County dispatch confirmed. He failed to appear to his court dates and was arrested on those warrants.

He now faces an additional felony charge of possessing drugs.

Got Drugs? National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is tomorrow


Through a collaborative effort with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the public will have an opportunity to safely dispose of their expired, unused and unwanted medications tomorrow at collection sites statewide from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The service is free and anonymous and you can find a local site HERE.

Drug Take-Back Day addresses a vital public health and safety issue. Other methods of discarding unused medicines, such as flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash pose potential health and safety hazards to our waterways.

Man, 78, sent to prison for pot dealing

A 78-year-old man who allowed drug traffickers to use his property just south of the Canadian border in Ferry County will spend 2 1/2 years in federal prison, a judge ruled Thursday.

Alvin Oliver Shields had 700 pounds of marijuana on his property when federal agents searched it in 2009. His lawyer, Jeffry Finer, said he retired from drug trafficking two years before a grand jury indicted him in September.

Shields and his wife live in Lebanon, Ore. His criminal history includes only a conviction for petty larceny in 1958.

Finer described him in court documents as a good humored man with poor hearing and early signs of dementia. He graduated high school in the 1950s but can't remember the year. He also couldn't initially remember the name of his first wife.

"Mr. Shields was ultimately able to provide it to Probation when he noticed it was tattooed on his left arm," Finer wrote.

Prosecutors say Shields lived in Canada for 30 years. Federal agents began investigating Shields in 2003 after a Border Patrol agent found four duffel bags with 140 pounds of marijuana after four people ran from Fourth of July Creek Road, west of Danville, into Canada.

The agent then saw Shields "driving slowly in a van with the rear cargo doors propped open," according to a plea agreement.

Then in 2008, a multi-agency investigation determined Shields was letting marijuana traffickers in Canada transport pot to his property, where it was then taken to Spokane and stored for distribution by U.S. drug traffickers.

Shields pleaded guilty in May to money laundering, structuring financial transactions to avoid reporting requirements, conspiracy to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana (dating back to 2003) and three counts of failure to file income tax returns.

He was sentenced Thursday in Spokane by U.S. District Judge Rosanna Peterson to 30 months in prison followed by five years of probation. The court is recommending he be housed at the federal prison in Sheridan, Ore., to allow his wife, whom Finer described as "aged and unwell," to visit.

Finer said a short incarceration period "will promote respect for the law and provide general deterrence to others who, like Mr. Shields, may find criminal opportunity in owning property alongside the border with Canada."

PCP found on Valley prowling suspect

A psychedelic drug best known for stories of strange and violent behavior by its users was found on a car prowling suspect early Monday in Spokane Valley.

Deputies first thought the small piece of paper found in a plastic baggie in Eric Faux's pants pocket was LSD on blotter paper, but field tests showed it was actually PCP, or phencylidine.

Faux, 25, was contacted in the area of 12200 E. 1st Ave. about 6:30 a.m. after a man called 911 to report a stranger looking in his vehicle and trying to open the front door to his home.

Deputy Jared Kiehn arrived to find Faux standing under the man's carport. When asked where he lived, Faux "shrugged his shoulders and laughed," according to a news release.

Kiehn handcuffed Faux but Faux attempted to run away. He was arrested for obstructing and subsequently searched. That's when Kiehn found the PCP.

Faux was taken to jail for obstructing, second-degree vehicle prowling and possession of a controlled substance.

While en route to the jail, Faux "was yelling at passing cars, growling, having a conversation with himself and sweating profusely," according to a news release. 'Deputy Kiehn advised the jail nurse of Faux possibly having ingested PCP when he arrived at the jail."

Home-invasion robber gets 10 years

A robber who fled a north Spokane home after being struck with a sword has been sentenced to nearly 11 years in prison.

Nathan T. McDaniels, 28, alias Gardner, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary and two counts of first-degree robbery and was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt to 129 months, according to court records.

McDaniels was arrested in May for a robbery  in the 9600 block of North Alpine Court, as was Nathan W. Day, 21.

Joshua Clint Epperson, 32, a level 3 sex offender, was arrested later in May. Erik J. Zacher, 26, was arrested in July.

The men are accused of entering the home about 2:45 a.m. on May 2, binding residents with zip ties and pistol whipping. The attackers asked about a safe and stolen several items. Police found a stolen Wii console and baggies of methamphetamine when they arrested Day at a home in the 900 block of East Wabash Avenue. They say he had a stolen handgun with him that may have been used in the robberies.

One resident told police four men knocked on the door and he let McDaniels in to use the bathroom. One of the men asked him if he wanted to smoke meth, and the man said he walked the men downstairs to wake up his girlfriend. That's when Day displayed the gun and the man was bound with zip ties as others stole items from the home, court documents say.

Vegas woman accused in OxyContin ring

A Las Vegas woman and her father are accused of helping distribute large amounts of OxyContin that included sales tracked in Eastern Washington.

Tiffany Diane Frehner, 31, and John Lawrence Frehner, 57, are charged in connection with a federal complaint filed in January against Frehner's boyfriend, Robert John Beron.

Beron, owner of a company called Lexxxy Nite Productions, is accused of selling OxyContin to Mitchell Hargan, Marisol Hernandez, Jaime McGahuey and Kim Chavez of Wenatchee.

Beron, who traveled to Washington regularly, told a confidential informant he was still able to get the old OxyContin pills distributed before Purdue Pharma changed the formula to make them harder to abuse, which gave him huge profits, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Spokane.

He also arranged to sell the informant 400 80-mg pills for $6,000, charges allege. Beron told the informant he had a customer in Wenatchee who bought $100,000 worth of OxyContin a month.

Beron was arrested at his home in Salinas, Calif., on Jan. 12.  Police found a 9 mm handgun and 530 methadone pills.

Beron was out of jail awaiting trial and wearing an electronic monitor, but he was arrested on a warrant July 18 in San Jose.

Frehner was arrested July 19 in Las Vegas.

She and her father each face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.

Where’s the heroin? Oops. Wrong house.

Two suspected serial robbers apparently picked the wrong target back in late May, Spokane police say.

Flint Fire Herrmann, 35, and David Fredrick Smith, 41, are charged with first-degree robbery for an invasion May 29 at a home in the 1900 block of West 26th Ave. Already in jail, they appeared in Spokane County Superior Court on the new charges Tuesday.

A victim told police one of the men "was yelling at the other male telling him they had the wrong people and they should leave," according to court documents. The other man tried to steal a portable video game player "only breaking it instead," police wrote

A resident said she awoke about 11:30 p.m. to a masked man standing next to her bed "pointing a large gun in her face." The woman said the man called her "Chandra" and demanded heroin, hen got very upset when she told him he had the wrong person. The woman feared two other men in the home had been killed , and that she was about to be killed, police say.

Two nights later, Herrmann and Smith successfully robbed a home in the 4400 block of East 46th Avenue of drugs and cash. They're also suspected in a robbery that same night at a home on West Spofford Avenue. Smith also is believed to have shot Robert Ruth during a robbery on West Princeton Avenue on May 29. Ruth is accused of helping cop shooter Charles Wallace.

Police arrested Smith in June and searched his home in the 2600 block of West Dell Avenue, where they recovered bandanas, a ski mask, 9 mm gun and a .380 Revolver.

Herrmann was arrested July 16.

Murdered man’s apartment burglarized

The family of a Western Washington man shot and killed nearly two weeks ago went to his Liberty Lake apartment to collect his things, only to find it burglarized and his newly purchased assault rifle missing.

Ryan Crews Mumm, 20, had been living in the area attending Spokane Community College, according to news reports.

He was shot and killed July 14 at Blue Stilly Park in Arlington in what police described as a dispute over $20 of marijuana. Suspect Dennis R. Watters, 41, of Tulalip, is in jail.

Mumm grew up in Arlington, and his family lives there. His sister, Jessica Olson, traveled to Liberty Lake to remove his items from the apartment at 22809 E. Country Vista Dr. and found it burglarized. An open rifle case sat on the living room floor. Olson said Mumm had bought a firearm at Cabela’s a couple months ago.

Liberty Lake police Detective Ray Bourgeois obtained a search warrant for Cabela’s firearm records that indicated the gun was a Romarm AK-47 assault rifle purchased by Mumm on Feb. 12. He entered the gun as stolen.

Reward targets Davenport Hotel thief

A Spokane man who stole laptop computers from a convention at the Davenport Hotel is wanted by Crime Stoppers after ditching drug addiction treatment.

 Sean Alexander Blair, 31, hasn't reported to the Washington Department of Corrections since leaving rehab on April 25. A no-bail warrant was issued July 11 for his arrest.

He already was facing felony theft and drug charges when police identified him last year as a suspect in Nov. 17 thefts at the Davenport Hotel, which occurred as the Tri-State Grain Growers convened at the upscale hotel in downtown Spokane.

Blair was sentenced to drug rehab as part of his sentence for felony property crime convictions. He told his rehab counselor he liked the feeling meth gave him; addiction experts say financial problems and family issues may contribute to his use.

Anyone with information on Blair's location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters do not have to give their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Suspect arrested in May home robbery

A fourth suspect has been arrested in a home-invasion robbery in the Indian Trail area that ended with a resident confronting his attackers with a sword.

Erik J. Zacher, 26, is accused of robbing residents in the 9600 block of North Alpine Court in May.

Suspects Nathan W. Day, 21, and Nathan T. McDaniels, 28, were arrested a day after the robbery. McDaniels still is there; Day is out on $25,000 bond.  Joshua Clint Epperson, 32, a level 3 sex offender, was arrested later in May and remains in jail.

The men are accused of entering the home about 2:45 a.m. on May 2, binding residents with zip ties and pistol whipping. The attackers asked about a safe and stolen several items. Police found a stolen Wii console and baggies of methamphetamine when they arrested Day at a home in the 900 block of East Wabash Avenue. They say he had a stolen handgun with him that may have been used in the robberies.

One resident told police four men knocked on the door and he let McDaniels in to use the bathroom. One of the men asked him if he wanted to smoke meth, and the man said he walked the men downstairs to wake up his girlfriend. That's when Day displayed the gun and the man was bound with zip ties as others stole items from the home, court documents say.

Zacher is charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree robbery, second-degree assault and three counts of first-degree kidnapping. He was arrested Saturday.

Crime Stoppers seeks drug rehab quitter

A man arrested for breaking into a car in downtown Spokane last summer is wanted by Crime Stoppers for dropping out of drug addiction treatment.

Glen Wayne O'Brien, 35, was jailed earlier this year for failing to comply with a sentence for a felony drug case that requires him to complete intensive treatment.

In a letter to a judge in March, O'Brien asked for a second chance.

"I am struggling with my addiction and it is very hard, but I truly want to get clean so I can move on to a better life," O'Brien wrote.

O'Brien got that chance, but he left rehab July 2 and hasn't been seen since, according to court documents.

O'Brien was in drug rehab after pleading guilty to possession of a controlled substance last ear. He was arrested in June 2011 after several people saw him breaking into a car in downtown Spokane.

O'Brien is considered by police to be a repeat offender. His 12-year criminal history includes convictions for forgery, stolen property, drugs, theft and vehicle theft.

Anyone with information is asked on his current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Tipsters do not have to give their names to receive a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Man shot in April arrested at CdA Casino

A man shot in what police believe was a drug-related incident on Spokane's South Hill in April was arrested today at the Coeur d'Alene Casino for a brutal assault in Adams County.

Arthur Frank Cardenas, 33, has been wanted since July 11 on a $500,000 warrant for charges of first-degree robbery and first-degree assault.

A casino security officer saw him today about 5 a.m. and requested assistance from tribal police as surveillance employees watched Cardenas walk back to his room through the cameras.

U.S. Marshals arrived to help arrest Cardenas, who has been described as a gang leader. He was taken into custody about 9 a.m.Police found drugs and weapons in his room and arrested four other people. Their names have not been released.

“This arrest is the result of great work by one of our very own tribal police officers and a collaborative effort with the U.S. Marshals to bring Cardenas in. I’m very proud of our guys and appreciative to the U.S. Marshals for their cooperation,” Coeur d’Alene Tribe Police Chief Cody SiJohn said in a prepared statement.

Cardena's friend Alicia Maria Favro was indicted just two weeks ago on a felon in possession of a firearm charge in U.S. District Court in Spokane.

Favro, 42, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of possessing a chrome Walther semi-automatic .380 caliber handgun that was found in her purse when she tried to go through security at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in April. She's in custody at the Spokane County Jail.

Cardenas' gunshot wound back in April  was not life threatening. A medic who treated him was severely burned by a chemical substance while treating Cardenas. Police didn't find toxic substances in Cardenas' car, but they did find large amounts of cash and methamphetamine.

Favro told police she went to Northern Quest Casino with Cardenas after he won $3,000 gambling in Moses Lake, according to court documents.