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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane police receive nearly $120,000 for sale of home used in drug-trafficking

Interim Spokane Police Chief Justin Lundgren and Spokane Mayor Lisa Brown speak at a news conference earlier this year concerning the recent string of police shootings. Lundgren has pressed cooperation between his agency and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday gave the Spokane Police Department nearly $120,000 gained from the forfeiture of a drug-trafficking house in the East Central Neighborhood.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington presented the department with a check of $119,621, 80% of the total amount claimed from the sale of the home. The rest will go to the federal government in areas like the Drug Enforcement Administration, according to U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesperson Rob Curry.

The home at 1903 E. Main. Ave. belonged to now 66-year-old Helmut Uwe Borchert. According to court records, Borchert was charged with manufacturing a controlled substance in 2011. The fire department entered his home that year because a caller smelled ammonia, court records say.

When the fire department arrived, they found various containers of liquid, a hotplate, gloves, Sudafed and drug paraphernalia that tested positive for methamphetamine. Borchert pleaded guilty and was sentenced to more than four years in prison.

In 2021, he pleaded guilty to a federal charge of intent to deliver methamphetamine and was sentenced to 12 years in prison after police found 20 pounds of methamphetamine in his home, a news release from the attorney’s office said. Court documents show Borchert was ordered to forfeit his East Central property in October of that year. Following his sentence, U.S. Marshals sold the property to a local homeowner, and those proceeds were given to the police department.

The money will help fund the police department’s drug-busting operations, spokeswoman Julie Humphreys said. Equipment is expensive, and more staff is helpful, she said.

Interim Spokane Police Chief Justin Lundgren praised collaboration between Spokane police units and Drug Enforcement Agency agents.

“Every member who participated in the investigation of this drug trafficking organization played an invaluable role that culminated in multiple arrests, sentencings, and the removal of dangerous drugs from the streets of Spokane,” Lundgren said.