SPOKANE— Multiple law enforcement jurisdictions came together March 14 to serve search warrants to key players they believed to be connected to a drug trafficking ring that spans four states. Of the 39 people implicated in the investigation, 29 were arrested.
The investigation into the manufacture and sale of opiates has been underway for more than one year by more than 100 FBI agents, Spokane police officers and Spokane County deputies.
During the search of approximately 20 locations across Spokane, Idaho, Nevada and California, the joint task force was looking for evidence that those under investigation were selling opiates, including ecstasy, oxycodone, methamphetamine and PCP.
By the end of the raid, investigators seized $30,000 worth of illegal drugs. Several of those arrested were released late Thursday after posting a $10,000 bond. Other bail hearings are scheduled for Tuesday, March 18 with a federal judge.
The investigating team, lead by the local Spokane Violent Crime and Gang Enforcement Team, attribute the success of this bust to members of the unit and their “’relentless pursuit’ of those involved.”
Arrests spanned three states, including Washington, California, and Nevada, and those taken into custody in connection with the case ranged in age from 19 years old to 56. Most of those indicted are only facing one to two counts of distribution of a controlled substance or conspiracy to distribute.
According to an article by The Spokesman Review [http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/mar/14/dozens-arrested-in-raids-throughout-spokane/], W. Jay Abbot, the FBI acting special agent in charge, named Deandre Gaither, 34, as the ringleader.
This most recent incident is not Gaither’s first run in with law enforcement. He was incarcerated for nearly five years after a similar Spokane bust in 2004. Reports are stating that Gaither is facing 10 charges related to the distribution of illegal substances.
While 29 people were arrested during the raid, 10 are now considered wanted fugitives after alluding law enforcement.
A complete report of Thursday’s operation can be found in the FBI press release.