Drug and gun charges for man feds say was prolific fake Xanax dealer around Capitol Hill

The haul recovered during searches last week (Image: SPD)

A man investigators say has been dealing marijuana, coke, oxy, and Adderall out of a Capitol Hill apartment for years has been arrested and charged with federal drug crimes after being nailed by Seattle Police detectives working in conjunction with Homeland Security and the King County Sheriff’s Office major crimes unit.

28-year-old Gizachew Degol Wondie was arrested Thursday morning by police at the E Denny Way apartment after an informant tipped off Homeland Security about his activities involving counterfeit Xanax and a King County Sheriff homicide investigation produced the needed search warrants. Continue reading

How a Capitol Hill overdose and spade-marked baggies brought down man prosecutors say was neighborhood opioid kingpin

Cash seized by police was so filthy with drugs, investigators wanted Narcan on hand before they dealt with it

A picture of Smith and his daughter the convicted drug dealer included in his plea for leniency to a U.S. District Court judge

An April 2017 overdose death in an E John apartment brought down the man prosecutors say was the kingpin opioid dealer on Capitol Hill until his arrest, prosecution, and sentence this week to twelve years in prison.

Gregory Smith, 34, “was a primary—if not the principal—opioid dealer in Capitol Hill,” prosecutor write. “Beginning in mid-2016, Smith’s ability to source massive amounts of fentanyl analogues from China only further reinforced his status as the go-to dealer in this area of Seattle. His personal impact upon the opioid crisis in Seattle was substantial.”

“A sophisticated trafficker, trading in cryptocurrencies, working with overseas suppliers, knowing not to deposit large quantities of cash into financial institutions, and amassing an arsenal of weapons and a security system to protect his assets and supply,” Smith was sentenced this week to 12 years in jail in a plea deal following an investigation that traced more than 70 shipments of fentanyl analogues to the Des Moines Memorial Dr S dealer from China.

Smith’s co-defendant Kyle McClure was also convicted of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and sentenced to two years in jail, according to court records. Continue reading

‘We really need to have a timeline here’ — Seattle shifting safe consumption plan to mobile ‘community health engagement’ van

Thursday afternoon just after 1 PM, Seattle Fire medics fought to revive a 29-year-old found unconscious after overdosing inside his 10th Ave E apartment. He was taken to Harborview in critical condition. Another rescue took place just blocks away Sunday as medics revived an overdose victim on the Bobby Morris playfield. Wednesday morning, Seattle Fire could not revive a man in his 20s who died of an overdose at a homeless camp in the greenbelt below Capitol Hill’s Louisa Boren Lookout.

Thursday at City Hall, a Seattle City Council committee heard an update from the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force on its progress to form a plan to help stem the tide of overdoses with a safe consumption site in the city where people addicted to drugs can come and shoot up — and not be alone. But the years-long process is still not close to finding a site for such a facility, officials said Thursday. The new plan, if the city wants to get something in place anytime soon, officials say, is to buy and deploy a “community health engagement” van that would be deployed daily to a dedicated site but would not roam the city.

“When we began to look at all the various options we realized the city doesn’t own a lot of buildings and the buildings we do own often times community centers or park related centers,” task force member Jeff Sakuma, Mayor’s Office said Thursday. “And obviously those would not be appropriate types of building sites.” Continue reading

Authorities seize hundreds of pounds of meth after drug bust in Capitol Hill parking lot

A Capitol Hill parking lot was the scene for a big drug bust last Tuesday afternoon that authorities say resulted in the seizure of more than 300 pounds of methamphetamine.

The U.S. Attorney announced that Adrian Perez, 41, was arrested and charged for possession of cocaine with with intent to distribute after a March 13th bust in the parking lot behind the Vox Apartments at 15th and Pine in which police say the suspect “tried to take possession of 18 kilos of cocaine he intended to transport for a Canadian drug trafficking organization” — Continue reading

‘Sharps’ program collecting 2,000+ old needles a month across Seattle

Left Behind

It’s a tragedy that heroin addiction destroys so many lives in Seattle. Discarded needles add another sad layer to the problem. A push from Seattle Public Utilities started in February 2016 can’t help with the addiction but officials say it is helping make streets safer by collecting some 2,000 used needles a month:

In its first 15 months of operation, Seattle Public Utility’s pioneering Sharps Collection Pilot Program has collected and safely disposed of 32,012 hypodermic syringes, improving both the safety and cleanliness of the city’s neighborhoods. Since February, people disposed of 26,647 syringes in nine SPU sharps disposal boxes around Seattle. (See attached map.) Another 5,365 needles have been removed from public property since the program began, in August 2016, in response to 1,113 complaints. Complaints were filed online, with the City’s Find It, Fix It app, or phoned in to (206) 684-7587.

Officials say the one-of-a-kind Seattle program is part of a group of test initiatives related to clean streets and safety. Continue reading

Police: Suspected fentanyl and coke found after Capitol Hill apartment death

The King County Medical Examiner has identified a man who died in a Capitol Hill apartment where police found suspected fentanyl and cocaine Wednesday night as James Wilson. Seattle Police say the victim was also one of two men treated by medics in a double fentanyl overdose at a Capitol Hill bar in an incident reported on by CHS in late March.

Seattle Fire tells CHS responding units found the 29-year-old in cardiac arrest inside the E John apartment Wednesday night just before 9 PM and performed CPR. “Unfortunately our efforts were not successful and [the patient] expired,” a Seattle Fire spokesperson said. Continue reading

Seattle Fire revives woman in Lakeview parking lot after reported overdose

Seattle Fire medics rushed to save a 26-year-old woman who stopped breathing in a reported drug overdose Thursday night in a parking lot at the base of Capitol Hill along Lakeview Blvd E.

Emergency crews were called to the 1000-block of Belmont Ave E just before 8 PM and took over CPR on the woman inside a car parked in the lot who was unconscious and not breathing but had a pulse, according to Seattle Fire radio dispatches.

Photographer Tim Durkan said that medics were able to revive the woman and shared this image and report from the scene. Continue reading

Seattle Fire responds to reported double overdose inside Pike/Pine bar

Seattle Fire medic units rushed to treat two people who overdosed late Saturday night inside a Pike/Pine bar.

While many of Capitol Hill’s OD emergencies happen in stairwells and parking garages, the emergency response Saturday just before midnight came in the middle of the Purr Lounge on 11th Ave where one person was reported down inside the bar unconscious and unresponsive.

According to East Precinct radio reports, police arrived as the 911 dispatcher tried to help with people administering CPR to the victim. An arriving officer reported a second victim was also in the bar. A large Seattle Fire response followed. Continue reading

‘Infancy’ — Officials still gathering data to determine where safe consumption sites can be located

An Insite "supervised injection site" in Vancouver, B.C. (Image: Seattle.gov)

An Insite “supervised injection site” in Vancouver, B.C. (Image: Seattle.gov)

At the end of January, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced they were moving forward with all of the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force recommendations to battle the heroin epidemic at a local level, including launching two safe consumption sites.

Officials are currently gathering data and information and meeting with communities to determine where the two sites, one slated for Seattle and one for greater King County, should be located.

Brad Finegood, assistant division director at King County Behavioral Health and Recovery Division, told CHS the process is in its “infancy.”

“There are so many things to undertake in an effort like this where A) there’s none in the U.S. and B) there’s so many community groups to discuss it with,” Finegood said. Continue reading

Seattle homeless Navigation Team begins clean-up with sweep of I-5 camps below Capitol Hill

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

There have been clean-ups of the area beneath Interstate 5 between Capitol Hill and Eastlake before. But officials hope this week’s sweeps can be part of a longer term change of what an East Precinct officer once described as a “no man’s land populated by the homeless, mental cases.”

In the first official deployment of the city’s new Navigation Team including outreach workers and police, the areas along and under I-5 popular with campers in the city’s core are being cleared out.

Here is what KOMO saw during the start of the clean-up in a half-mile stretch near the Colonnade Park between lower Capitol Hill and Eastlake:

Police and safety vest clad workers started pulling apart a bunker underneath I-5 early Tuesday. Mixed in with the bottles filled with urine were piles of blankets, rats and a smattering of personal belongings. Continue reading