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Planes, pills and piles of cash

Planes, pills and piles of cash

Newly unsealed court documents are revealing new details of a massive drug ring busted in Spokane last year that shows how a group of California gangsters trafficked thousands of OxyContin pills into Spokane every few days on commercial flights.

The Spokane Regional Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Agency executed a series of raids in Spokane in February 2013. At the time, federal prosecutors had the court records sealed, so the only information released was that the drug ring involved OxyContin and that 41 people were arrested. The raid also led to the arrest of Sally Blakely Guthrie, who owns Flamin' Joe's restaurant.

This week, the ringleader of the group pleaded guilty to two federal charges. With that plea, many of the court records were made public. Federal prosecutors say Richard Haynes, aka "Tiny Schoolie," was the leader of the trafficking organization and part of the Eight Trey Gangster Crips, a street gang operating in Spokane and Los Angeles.

Police searching for Lion's Lair shooter

Police searching for Lion's Lair shooter

A bouncer at the Lion's Lair was injured after an early-morning shooting Thursday and now Spokane Police are searching for the two suspects involved in the incident.

The shooting happened just before 2 a.m. outside the Lions Lair bar at Browne and Riverside. According to Spokane police, witnesses said the two men were kicked out of the bar earlier in the evening following a fight.

The men then came back, driving a silver Pontiac Trans Am, and fired multiple rounds at the bar from the sidewalk, targeting the bouncer through the window. At least two rounds hit a window and the bouncer was hit in the leg. He was transported to the hospital for treatment of his injury.

Patrol officers were on the scene in less than two minutes.

"What we found were two bullet holes in [the] front window of the Lion's Lair tavern and one of the employees, a bouncer inside, with a bullet wound to his leg," Spokane Police Lieutenant Dean Sprague said. "Injuries are non-life threatening, he's currently being treated up at the hospital."

The wounded bouncer never lost consciousness and was able to give police a pretty good idea about what had happened.

Defense skips opening statement in Arteaga murder trial

Defense skips opening statement in Arteaga murder trial

Was he a jealous killer or have Spokane County Sheriff's detectives arrested the wrong man? That's the question a jury will have to decide as Dan Arteaga's murder trial got underway Wednesday.

Arteaga stands accused of killing his girlfriend Kim Schmidt on New Year's Eve 2011.

The prosecutors theorize Arteaga was able to sneak up on Schmidt and shoot her at point blank range because he had taken his small caliber pistol and hid it in a woman's sock as he approached the victim.

Detectives collected that sock as evidence and now say it has Arteaga's DNA inside of it, and that was the lead off statement prosecutors told the jury as the trial got underway Wednesday morning.

"He forgot to take the sock," Deputy Prosecutor John Love said.

Tests later confirmed the gun was inside the sock as well as Arteaga's DNA.

Prosecutors say Arteaga shot and killed Schmidt because his long-time lover was rekindling her relationship with the father of her 12-year-old daughter.

"Kim Schmidt said Mr. Arteaga was her friend and he was her friend but not the way he wanted it to be. She was ready to move on. He was not," Love said.

Police see rise in phone scams

Police see rise in phone scams

From the Spokane Police Department:

Over the past weeks, Spokane Police have received several reports of scams involving power companies. Victims have reported receiving a call about an overdue payment from the caller stating they are an employee of the power company, demanding immediate payment. Victims have sent money orders in as payments before realizing the calls was fraudulent.


Cracking robberies top priority for Spokane Police

Cracking robberies top priority for Spokane Police

With eight robberies in the last month, cracking those cases and finding the suspects behind them are a top priority for the Spokane Police Department.

The robberies include multiple Subway restaurants, the Yoke's off Indian Trail, Mug Shots coffee stand on Garland and three robberies of Jitterz Hava, which has prompted their employees to start carrying guns.

"We have been working on this all week. It's a top priority for our department right now," Spokane Police Captain Brad Arleth said. "We are looking at the probability that many of these robberies are related."

Police say there are multiple reasons for that theory, including similar suspect descriptions, similar targets and similar methods of operation when the robbery subject comes in and confronts people.

The robbers have been described as tall men in their mid-20s and at almost every robbery displayed a handgun. Detectives say there are things businesses can be doing to better prepare themselves if they are targeted next.

Perry makes first appearance on cold case murders

Perry makes first appearance on cold case murders

Tuesday afternoon, after 24 long years, Donna Perry, suspected of killing three women in 1990, finally made an appearance in court.

Perry, suspected of killing Yolanda Sapp, Kathleen Brisbois and Nickie Lowe, was known as Douglas Perry until undergoing a sex change in Thailand in 2000. Detectives say they have DNA and fingerprints linking Perry to the murders.

Tuesday was an emotional day for Brisbois' family. They have been waiting for 24 years for a day like Tuesday, where a suspect would finally face a judge. They know it will be a long road ahead in court since the case is just in its early stages, but finally the Brisbois family feels some closure.

It almost was a question as to whether or not Perry would make her first court appearance, after apparently refusing to attend her court hearing scheduled for Monday. On Tuesday she agreed to come to court for the first appearance in the murders of Brisbois, Lowe and Sapp. The cases went cold for decades until detectives found a DNA match in 2012 after Perry had a DNA sample taken from her following her arrest on an unrelated federal firearms charge.

Charges requested in 2013 shooting outside Knitting Factory

Charges requested in 2013 shooting outside Knitting Factory

Spokane Police detectives are requesting charges against two people in connection with last year's shooting downtown near the Knitting Factory.

Spokane Police Major Crimes detectives have requested charges of Attempted First Degree Murder (2 counts) for 29-year-old Stafone N. Fuentes. Detectives have also requested a charge of Conspiracy to Commit Attempted First Degree Murder for 19-year-old Cierra C. White. The request for these charges stems from a shooting occurring at the Knitting Factory Concert House on February 18, 2013.

SPD detectives thoroughly investigated the incident and have requested the charges from the Spokane County Prosecutor.

Fuentes is currently in custody on unrelated charges stemming from a drug trafficking bust on Thursday. He is being held on a $250,000 bond. His arraignment is scheduled for March 25.