10,000 Pills Per Week Coming Into Spokane - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

10,000 Pills Per Week Coming Into Spokane

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Court records show how a massive Oxycontin drug ring, run mostly by gang-members from Los Angeles, infiltrated Spokane, sold their drugs, and then got away again. Court records show how a massive Oxycontin drug ring, run mostly by gang-members from Los Angeles, infiltrated Spokane, sold their drugs, and then got away again.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

It's long been no secret that many people in Spokane have issues with drugs. But for a long time, what was a well-kept secret was where those drugs were coming from, especially narcotic painkillers. New court documents, filed this week in Spokane, finally pull back the covers on those closely guarded secrets.

The court records show how a massive Oxycontin drug ring, run mostly by gang-members from Los Angeles, infiltrated Spokane, sold their drugs, and then got away again. All of it happening in just a matter of hours.

One of the suspected ringleaders, Richard Haynes, pleaded guilty in federal court to multiple criminal counts, including conspiracy to commit drug trafficking. If the plea deal is accepted, he will spend at least 20 years in prison.

Court documents show that in June, 2011 the Spokane Regional Drug Task Force began investigating illegal oxycontin trafficking by L.A. street gang "Eight Trey Gangster Crips." The gang was selling pain pills between L.A. and Spokane. In August, the DEA Spokane office joined the investigation. In October, both the L.A. DEA and the LAPD also joined the investigation.

During that investigation, agents found evidence that the group had been dealing the pills in Spokane and L.A. since 2008. Court documents show that the pills were obtained by using suspect doctors and/or medical staff who prescribe medications for profit, suspect pharmacists and/or pharmacies who fill the illegally obtained prescriptions for profit, and numerous elderly people and/or medically disabled people who help obtain the prescription drugs for profit.

Once the gang had the pills, the group had women wear "body packs" with about 2,000 pills each. They'd travel commercial airlines from L.A. to Spokane, bringing in as many as 10,000 illegal pills every week. In L.A. the pills cost $10-12, but in Spokane the pills went for as much as $20-22. The proceeds, often as much as $100,000 a week, was then sent back to L.A., hidden in the checked bags of the same women.

Evidence found that Richard Haynes (aka Tiny Schoolie, Swag) worked as an upper-level leader, and eventually he was found to be the ringleader.

From August 2012 to December 2012 investigators wire-tapped two cell phones used by Haynes. During that four-month period they intercepted 4,100 drug-trafficking related conversations. While monitoring one of the women who flew from Spokane to L.A. DEA agents used a search warrant and found 73 rubber-band wrapped bundles of $1,000 bills in a suitcase. They put the money back in the suitcase, then LAPD followed the woman that picked up the suitcase to a money stash house.

Later that summer, DEA agents monitoring text messages sent between Haynes and female drug courier Erika Wood decided to check Wood's suitcase as she was leaving Spokane. They used a 'sneak and peak' warrant to search her bag, and found $107,000 in a plastic bag, along with 200 oxycontin pills. Agents took both, to use as evidence. When she got to L.A., Woods was told her bag was misplaced, but would be on the next flight. Woods then contacted Haynes and said she is nerbous and plans to keep walking when they give her the bag. Woods tells Haynes to take care of her son if anything happens to her, and that she is going to delete his messages now, and don't text back. Woods then contacts Haynes and says she received her bag, but isn't going to look at it until she's out of the airport and knows where to go. Later, Woods tells Haynes her bag has has been searched, and there is no money or drugs. At first they believe law enforcement seized the money and pills, but as time passes and Erika Woods is not arrested, they believe that TSA agents took the money and drugs.

In March of 2013, DEA agents served a dozen federal warrants across Spokane and L.A., nabbing nearly 60 suspects, including the owner of the Flamin' Joes restaurants in Spokane.

Haynes is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

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