PROSSER, Wash. - A small home near a Prosser preschool was part of a pipeline, police said, that moved pounds of methamphetamine and heroin into Spokane each week.
Last week, Spokane police — with the help of Prosser police, Benton County sheriff’s deputies and the Tri-City Regional SWAT team — searched the house at 1527 Grant Avenue, finding half a pound of heroin, a small amount of meth and a gun inside.
Officers arrested Edgar Perez, wife Nancy Perez, and Christopher Weber, a Tacoma man who allegedly protected Edgar Perez on his weekly delivery trips to Spokane.
The arrests wrapped up an investigation into a drug trafficking operation that grossed $100,000 a month, according to court records.
The husband and wife are charged in federal court with conspiracy to distribute meth and heroin, distributing 50 grams or more of meth, and possessing 100 grams or more of heroin.
Weber is facing one count of conspiracy to distribute meth and heroin.
An informant told Spokane investigators in August that Edgar Perez, nicknamed “Gramps,” dropped off 10 pounds of meth and four pounds of heroin once or twice a week, court records said.
On a couple of occasions, Edgar Perez brought Weber when he made his deliveries, the informant told police. The two were cellmates in prison and started talking again a couple months ago.
Spokane Detective Michael Bahr told the federal judge about a Sept. 26 purchase where the informant met Weber in the parking lot of a Division Street motel. He brought the informant inside one of the rooms, and the informant left with methamphetamine.
A search of the motel’s records showed Edgar Perez’s credit card was used to pay for the room and it was registered under his name, but Weber’s Tacoma address and email were used on the registration.
When police searched Weber’s home, they found two ounces of meth and two ounces of heroin, documents said.
At the same time police caught Weber, they were closing in on the Perez home. The search triggered a lockdown at the Prosser School District, which has the preschool and a curriculum office near the house. Only one student was in the preschool and was sent home without event.
Inside the house, Edgar Perez told investigators he flushed most of the two pounds of heroin down the toilet between the time officers knocked on the door and when they came in, police say. He was foiled by a clogged toilet, and when officers were able to search, they found half a pound remaining.
It’s an unusually large heroin bust for the area. By comparison, the Tri-City Metro Drug Task Force seized 4.5 pounds of heroin for all of 2017 across all of the Tri-Cities.
Police say Edgar Perez admitted to selling $100,000 in drugs a month, and his wife said she knew about it. Weber did not talk to police.
Weber’s wife told police that Edgar Perez started helping them with money because Weber needed to take five weeks of unpaid leave when their baby was born.
Both Edgar Perez and Weber are in the Spokane County jail awaiting trail. Nancy Perez was released with the warning that she not break any federal laws and that she will show up for any additional cases.
Weber’s family and friends attached several letters saying he turned his life around since finishing a near eight-year prison term in 2013.
“He has thereafter, for the last five to six years, worked hard to be a good husband and father and responsible law-abiding citizen,” said John Nollette, his defense attorney.
The attorney is asking for Weber to be released pending his trial.
His wife wrote that Weber was a victim of being too good of a friend to people he shouldn’t have, but only with the intention of showing them it’s possible to live without committing crimes.