Frank Cikutovich Article:
Club Owner Faces Drug-Related Charges
Spokesman Review Apr 23, 2004
by Bill Morlin Staff writer
The co-owner of a Spokane nightclub is in jail, facing money- laundering
charges and forfeiture of his $400,000 South Hill home as a task force
investigates a large marijuana smuggling ring.
The operation is responsible for bringing "thousands of pounds" of potent
"B.C. bud" marijuana from Canada to Spokane for distribution, authorities
disclosed in U.S. District Court on Thursday.
Corey S. Leavell, 26, confessed to his involvement in the operation when he
was arrested this month during a search of his home at 5420 S. Glendora Drive,
task force agent Rodney Weekes testified at a detention hearing.
"The nature and circumstances of this case are that Mr. Leavell has been
involved in a long-term drug conspiracy, involving thousands of pounds of
marijuana," Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Harrington said in court.
The night before his arrest, Leavell proposed to his fiancee and she
accepted, defense attorney Frank Cikutovich told the court. He urged the court
to release Leavell on bond.
With his parents and fiancee in front-row seats, Leavell cried when U.S.
Magistrate Judge Cynthia Imbrogno ordered him held in jail as a flight risk
Sworn documents used for the search of his home on April 16 are sealed from
public inspection. A military-style AR-15 assault rifle was seized during the
search, but authorities made no mention of finding any drugs.
Investigators are now using a grand jury in the probe of what they described
in court as a significant marijuana-smuggling ring that has operated for some
Federal investigators wouldn't elaborate outside the courtroom.
Leavell, who has been in custody for a week, was indicted Tuesday on charges
of conspiracy to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana. If convicted,
the charge carries a mandatory 10 years in prison.
He also was indicted by a grand jury on 12 counts of money laundering and a
The dozen money-laundering counts allege Leavell made various bank deposits,
totaling $2.3 million, between February 2001 and last September.
Harrington said in court that Leavell used other names in various financial
transactions "so the money wouldn't be traced to him."
The indictment seeks forfeiture of $6million in cash, but doesn't specify if
those funds have been located.
The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of Leavell's home, a $32,000 lot he
owns in Spokane Valley and a $300,000 parcel of property in Spangle.
The federal prosecutor asked the magistrate to keep Leavell in jail, and she
agreed to that request.
"The charges against Mr. Leavell are extremely serious," the magistrate
Cikutovich argued that Leavell isn't a flight risk and has no record of
violence, only traffic-related charges.
Leavell is the co-owner of the Pub Club, a lounge located at 415 W. Sprague,
Weekes testified at the detention hearing.
He and two business partners bought the nightclub for $200,000 last year by
making a $70,000 down payment, Weekes testified. Leavell contributed $50,000 of
the down payment, the agent said.
The two other owners of the business aren't charged in the indictment.
Leavell also has $75,000 in a Lloyd's Bank account in the United Kingdom and
owns property in Mexico, Harrington told the court.
"He admitted he has money and assets outside the country," and holds
citizenships in the United States and Canada, Harrington told the court.
Copyright 2004 Cowles Publishing Company
Stiley and Cikutovich, PLLC.
1408 W. Broadway
Spokane, Wa. ,
Office Phone: (509) 323-9000