Cocaine 'kingpin' arrested in Portland bust

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by Associated Press

Associated Press

Posted on October 27, 2009 at 10:38 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. — Police believe they have toppled a Northwest drug kingpin.

Officers say 58-year-old James Yoakum ran a large Crips gang cocaine-trafficking ring and used a Portland barbecue restaurant as a front to launder his money.

Agents used wiretaps and round-the-clock surveillance to monitor the operation investigators think put $300,000 worth of cocaine on the street every month.

Federal agents and local gang investigators arrested 19 people, seized pounds of cocaine and more than $100,000 in cash during their 10-month investigation. In all, 24 people have been indicted in the case.

Federal and local law enforcement agencies displayed guns, cocaine and other contraband to reporters at a press conference in Portland on Monday.

Yoakum has pleaded not guilty.

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