Remaining Spokane suspects in DEA raids appear in court

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by SHAWN CHITNIS & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on March 5, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 5 at 7:01 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. – Seven suspects in a major DEA drug raid bust went before a U.S. District Court Judge Tuesday either waving their right to a bail hearing or requesting release but all remain in custody.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office argued the defendants were a danger to the community because of gang ties as well as access to firearms and large amounts of cash. Some also had prior criminal records the court considered.

Four suspects did not ask for a bail hearing but will have the chance to revisit the issue at a later date. Marlon Johnson, Amber Branch, Harry Johnwell, and Arvin Carmen were taken back into custody without arguing for their release.

Those trying to receive bail were accused by federal prosecutors of either having direct ties to the 8-Tray Gangster Crips gang or substance issues.

While the court did not necessarily accept the charge of being a gang member and defense attorneys denied the claim, David Colbert and Katriel Bulley were not released. Brandon Chavez was given the chance to revist his release after having a home visit and a doctor writing to the court about his current condition. The court expressed concern about substance use and did not grant his request.

Mercedes Reeves is a third suspect accused of gang affiliation that did not get released by the court on Monday. Sally Guthrie did bond out on Friday but is the only defendant to show clear ties to Spokane. She owns the Flamin’ Joes restaurant chain. Some suspects did not have any connection to eastern Washington except for their involvement in the drug ring, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In court one suspect was mentioned as using a home on Lacey and Indiana as a stash house for drugs, it was one of 16 locations where search warrants were executed on Thursday.

Three other suspects were arrested last week but their names have not been released. Federal prosecutors say we may not learn their identities until they show up on the court schedule. They added some operations in this drug bust are still happening so some documents in the case remain sealed.

Jessica Clinton, the only arrest in this case from western Washington, will go before the court on Thursday for her arraignment.

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