Former Colville thrift store owner indicted on drug trafficking charges

SPOKANE, Wash – A woman who admitted to federal agents that she was a meth dealer and was having drugs delivered to her business in Colville has now been indicted on federal drug trafficking charges.

An affidavit filed last week in U.S. District Court lays out the case against Leslie Howerton, which began with a suspicious package delivered to her business in July 2021.

According to a U.S. Postal Inspector, a parcel came through the Colville Post Office and was taped on all the seams. The postal inspector said “I know from training and experience that drug traffickers tape parcel seems [sic] to avoid detection from trained K-9 narcotic detection dogs.”

The parcel was addressed to an address on 1st Avenue in Colville, which investigators said was the Treasured Seconds thrift store owned by Howerton.

The thrift store does not appear to be in business at this time.

The postal inspector was granted a federal search warrant to open the package, in which investigators found four pounds of meth. Federal agents then resealed the package and delivered it to Treasured Seconds, where they found Howerton and her boyfriend.

Federal agents told Howerton she was under investigation for narcotics trafficking. They say she waived her rights and agreed to an interview.

In the interview, federal agents showed Howerton the package of drugs.

According to the affidavit, “Howerton explained she is a pound meth dealer and sells each pound for $3,000 to a person whom she identified by name in Idaho.”

She said she meets this person on Flowery Trail Pass in Chewelah to deliver the meth.

“Howerton stated that when she gets the meth in the mail, she calls her customer and typically sells him 2 pounds at a time and keeps the other 2 pounds at her thrift shop in the office near the printer until her customer is ready for it,” the affidavit says.

Howerton gave agents permission to search her car, where they found meth, mushrooms, marijuana and a loaded syringe of meth.

It’s not clear what happened to Howerton after that investigation.

The affidavit skips ahead to September 2022, when a border patrol agent told investigators that Howerton was communicating with an inmate at an Idaho prison.

The agent said, “he had listened to several recorded calls between the inmate and Howerton and she was fixing up a recreational vehicle (RV) and was planning on fleeing the state with the inmate after his release in September 2022.”

The agent said Howerton and the inmate “planned to flee together to the backwoods of Arkansas and live off the grid.”

In early September, investigators found Howerton at her home in Newport and arrested her on an active state warrant for possession with intent to deliver.

A man named Adam Rew Carash is also indicted with Howerton, but it’s not clear how he’s involved.

Howerton faces charges of possession with intent to distribute and use of a communication facility in committing drug offenses.

Carash is charged with conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of meth and possession of 50 grams or more of meth.