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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels

Sentencing closed in drug case

A drug runner arrested in the investigation of a smuggling ring that used helicopters to fly marijuana, cocaine and other narcotics throughout the region was sentenced during a secret proceeding Wednesday in federal court, his attorney said.

The courtroom was closed and the transcript will be sealed under orders from U.S. District Judge Lonny Suko. No reason for the unusual closure was given.

Leonard J. Ferris, 50, pleaded guilty in April after being charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He was planning to exchange the cocaine for marijuana in the Colville National Forest when he and Ross N. Legge, 53, were arrested near Ogden, Utah, on Feb. 21, according to court documents.

Legge is awaiting trial in federal court in Utah.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office wanted Ferris to serve at least 17 years in prison, according to a sentencing memorandum filed Nov. 25.

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