By Michael Harthorne
CENTRALIA - An inmate is now facing new charges after he was busted allegedly running an organized drug trafficking ring from inside prison.
According to the Centralia Police Department, 30-year-old Forrest Amos would extort personal information from sex offenders in prison in order to set up false phone lines for making collect calls. He would reportedly use those calls to set up sales of prescription pain-relief medication between suppliers, sellers and customers.
But, the Centralia Police Department intercepted those calls and launched a long and complex investigation into the ring in January, culminating in the serving of search warrants at New Beginnings Wellness Centers in Tumwater and Aberdeen June 17.
All told, the investigation ended with the arrest or referral for charges of more than 20 people, the recovery of 1,650 prescription pills, 156 marijuana plants, 1.5 pounds of dried marijuana, $19,000 in cash and five vehicles. Police also plan on seizing a Lewis County house in the near future.
According to police, arrests were made in SeaTac, Lacey, Centralia, Chehalis, Napavine and Longview after police observed numerous drug transactions and gained information about the trafficking ring.
Every person arrested directly supplied and distributed controlled substances in Centralia, according to police.
In addition to trafficking in prescription pills, the ring reportedly facilitated medical-marijuana authorizations, trafficked in non-medical marijuana, and arranged to have contraband smuggled into the prison system.
Amos and the other suspects are facing charges including violations of Uniform Controlled Substances Act, delivery and possession with intent to deliver; leading organized crime; assault and intimidating a witness; identity theft and forgery; extortion; Medicaid fraud.
Amos was in prison for possessing prescription drugs without authorization.