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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.

The government is seeking the forfeiture of $20 million in funds that were allegedly earned through this criminal enterprise. The indictment contends that more than $28 million was seized. Federal law allows the government to seize and forfeit the profits of criminal activity, items used to commit crimes and any items purchased with those profits, including houses and cars.

Conspiracy to commit a crime is punished the same as the underlying offense. A continuing criminal enterprise is punishable by 10 years to life imprisonment and fines of up to $10 million. These are serious charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help mitigate the crimes, argue for acquittal or negotiate a favorable deal with the prosecution.

Source: The Spokesman-Review, "Nine arrested in Spokane raids in connection with alleged West Coast drug ring," Mike Prager, Feb. 28, 2013
Source: Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841 and 846

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