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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels

Big meth dealer gets 10 years in prison

A Spokane man who transported large amounts of methamphetamine to the Inland Northwest from Southern California is to spend 10 years in federal prison.

James Stewart, 50, also is to forfeit drug proceeds of $180,000, perform 120 hours of community service and be on probation for 10 years after his release under a sentence imposed today in U.S. District Court in Spokane.

Stewart's co-defendant, Shad Alan Johnson, of Rathdrum, Idaho, was sentenced Sept. 7 to five years in prison.  Johnson was also ordered to forfeit $180,000, or substitute property equal to the money judgment.   
Stewart, who pleaded guily in July, traveled to California several times to pick up meth. He switched cars with a co-conspirators who would hide meth in the door panels before swapping vehicles again. Stewart transported the drugs to Lewiston, Coeur d’Alene, and Spokane.

“These two defendants received lengthy prison sentences for bringing this dangerously addictive drug to Idaho communities,” said U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson.  “The U.S. Attorney's Office will continue to work with state and federal law enforcement officers throughout Idaho and our neighboring states to ensure that drug traffickers are caught, prosecuted and convicted.”

Johnson was arrested with a stolen Jeep and a handgun on Jan. 7, 2009, as detectives staked out Pinnacle Realty founder Joseph G. Ward’s home on Long Lake.

Ward was arrested that day, too, in a massive Washington State Patrol investigation into a methamphetamine- and sex-fueled criminal enterprise allegedly operated out of his home.

Ward pleaded guilty in October to possession of a stolen motor vehicle and nine counts of first-degree possession of stolen property. He was credited for two days served in jail, given a year probation and ordered to pay $68,152 restitution.

Johnson and Stewart are connected to Larry McMillan, Brenda Barron and her daughter Amber Larsen, Daniel Napier and Christopher Gober, who are serving time in federal prison for meth, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Stewart was born and raised in the Post Falls area and has been married and divorced four times, according to court documents. He has two children ages 31 and 15 and has worked in construction and property management.

He previously served five years in prison for a federal counterfeit case and also has a previous methamphetamine conviction.

Public safety news from the Inland Northwest and beyond.