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March 2013 Archives

Washington lawmakers take on flashmob robberies

Washington's Senate recently took on a problem that many of the state's citizens have likely never heard of: flashmob robberies, also known as "flash robs." On March 12, the Senate voted 49-0 to create new criminal charges related to this increasingly "popular" method of organized retail theft. The bill must now be cleared through the House. Flash robs occur when large groups of people suddenly converge on a store and steal whatever they feel like before quickly leaving. These retail thefts are basically unstoppable due to the overwhelming multitude of offenders. Though Washington hasn't had issues with these types of crimes, lawmakers hoped to "nip it in the bud" after an Oregon television station broadcast a video of one of these robberies occurring in Portland.

DEA raid reduces OxyContin supply in Spokane

After a recent DEA raid in Spokane that ended a $20 million prescription drug ring, local law enforcement reported that they still arrest people weekly for the possession of OxyContin. The prescription pill epidemic consumes much of the police agency's time and efforts. While the drug of choice in the city used to be meth, according to an undercover drug agent, opiate pills such as OxyContin have overtaken it in popularity. Heroin costs have decreased, so some addicts may switch to taking pills instead. Regardless of the underlying causes of the local price fluctuations, drug trafficking associated with the rising popularity of the pills has increased.

41 people arrested in West Coast drug ring

On Feb. 28, a number of law enforcement officers working together executed warrants that allowed them to raid 47 separate locations to search for drugs. The raid included 16 residences located in the Spokane area as well as locations in Western Washington and Los Angeles. A total of 41 people were arrested on drug charges, including nine people in Spokane. An additional three Spokane residents were implicated; those individuals were already in police custody.The United States Drug Enforcement Agency worked with local law enforcement in Washington and Los Angeles to investigate the alleged conspiracy to distribute OxyContin. The Spokane defendants are being charged in federal court following a 32 count indictment handed down by a federal grand jury earlier this year. Nine individuals face charges for conspiracy to distribute; three of them face additional charges.

Search near school finds guns and drugs

Following a lengthy investigation that utilized information from informants, police executed a search warrant at a home located near Libby Center School in Spokane, Washington. Due to the proximity of the home to the school, members of a SWAT team stood by as a precaution. One man now faces multiple criminal charges as a result of the search.The search warrant allowed police to recover firearms from the property on South Haven Street. Police located evidence of other illegal items that included counterfeit money, guns, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. When police execute a search warrant for a particular item, they are permitted to search any space where that item may reasonably be hidden. If officers locate other contraband or evidence of a crime, those items may also be seized.