Police raid Lonnie's Garage for illegal drug sales

SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane police raided Lonnie's Garage at 9th Avenue and Perry Street on the South Hill Wednesday, saying the business was allegedly operating as a front for illegal drug sales.

Neighbors say they're not surprised police were able to make several undercover buys through Lonnie's Garage, which is directly across from Grant Elementary School in the South Perry District.

Long before Lonnie Sandros wound up in handcuffs Wednesday afternoon, detectives were carefully watching his garage and periodically sending in undercover buyers.

Sometimes it take a long time to get inside, get to know the players and get the probable cause they need for police to make an arrest.

Lonnie's Raid

"Sometimes it might not be visible that we're working on it but we had undercover officers working in this area to do drug buys so that we're able to execute a search warrant and arrest these people," Spokane police Corporal Lydia Taylor said.

Last week detectives bought either meth or hydrocodone through the garage and that's why Sandros was arrested Tuesday on an unlawful use of a building for drug purposes charge.

The two men who police say actually sold them drugs were arrested on drug distribution charges.

Neighbors say Lonnie's Garage is dragging down this neighborhood and really impacted their quality of life.

"Well we have groups of people who will sit around there, they will yell out cat calls, they'll yell out curse names at you. You can't even walk by there. They are dealing drugs and smoking their drugs outside in the public," neighbor Tamara Herndon said.

Police say neighbors deserve the credit for giving detectives enough information about the cars and people coming and going from Lonnie's Garage. Neighborhood conditions officers like Dan Strassenberg know if they get rid of drug dealers the area sees a decrease in property crimes.

"So we're asking if there's a problem house in your neighborhood where you see these kind of conditions going on to let us know so we can eradicate the problem and keep the community safe," Taylor said.

Once the investigation is complete the city attorney will likely launch an abatement effort to shut Lonnie's Garage down.