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Press Release

Spokane Drug Dealer Involved in Large-Scale Drug Trafficking Conspiracy and Violent Spokane-Area Shooting Sentenced to 11 Years in Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Washington

Spokane, Washington - Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced today that Amy Katherin Riggs, 36, of Dayton, Washington, was sentenced after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine and 400 Grams or More of Fentanyl. U.S. Senior District Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson imposed a sentence of 132 months in prison to be followed by 5 years of supervised release.

According to court documents and information presented at the sentencing hearing, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was investigating a drug trafficking organization with significant ties to the Eastern District of Washington. Investigators developed information that Riggs was a key facilitator for the organization as well as one of its biggest clients. The evidence showed Riggs was obtaining and distributing approximately $125,000 worth of heroin, methamphetamine, and fentanyl pills into the community per month.  Riggs would receive between one-half to one kilogram of heroin, up to 10,000 fentanyl pills, and one to two pounds of methamphetamine.

When members of the organization were arrested by law enforcement, Riggs would attempt to determine if they were “rats,” meaning cooperating.  She also would go to organization locations where search warrants were executed and collect the search warrant returns (documents required to be left by law enforcement) , itemizing the items seized. She also would take anything of value law enforcement might have inadvertently missed.  For example, when a search warrant was executed at an organization stash house on Maxwell Avenue in Spokane on January 2022, , law enforcement located over three kilograms of fentanyl pills, a half pound of methamphetamine, a quarter pound of heroin, and several firearms.  On the same date, a drug courier was arrested, as he came out of a stash house on the South Hill, with over two kilograms of methamphetamine, just shy of two kilograms of fentanyl pills, a large amount of U.S. Currency, and multiple firearms.  Following the execution of these search warrants, Riggs reported to the leader of the organization in Mexico the items that were seized and checked the jail rosters to ensure the individuals were booked in jail – noting to the leader that if they were not, they knew the organization had a “rat” in its inner circle.

In addition, Riggs became a self-styled enforcer for the organization, to earn favor with the leader of the organization, who resides in Mexico.  For example, on February 6, 2022, a drug courier for the organization was delivering approximately fifteen-to twenty pounds of methamphetamine and approximately 50,000 fentanyl-laced pills to a man named Brady Baughman in the Spokane area. Baughman tried to pay the courier for the drugs with fake U.S. Currency. The courier would not accept the fake money, so Baughman robbed the drug courier and sped off in his vehicle. Another member of the drug organization, who was present at the robbery, had left her iPad in Baughman’s vehicle and was able to track the device’s location. The couriers then called the leader of the drug organization in Mexico and informed him of the robbery. The leader then asked Riggs to get the drugs back.

Using the iPad’s location, which was relayed to her by the leader in Mexico, Riggs was able to track Baughman’s location. She also was able to text at least three other individuals to assist in locating Baughman, to include Daniel Skjold and her paramour Jody Wallette. In those text messages, Riggs sent details of Baughman’s identity, vehicle, and suspected location.

A short time later, a 911 caller reported an SUV-type vehicle shooting at another vehicle near the intersection of Nettleton and Rowan in Spokane. Responding law enforcement located seven 9mm shell casings in the area. Around that same time, Riggs’s Range Rover SUV was captured on camera in the area of the shooting. Other surveillance video showed a vehicle consistent with the Riggs’s vehicle traveling in the area and captured what appeared to be images of the driver shooting a handgun out the window.

Baughman was later apprehended by Spokane Police, and large kitty litter containers were recovered containing the methamphetamine and fentanyl pills stolen from the runner.  Skjold was later arrested on multiple separate state charges stemming from a domestic-violence related drive-by-shooting case, which also involved unlawful possession of a firearm and witness tampering. Skjold later was sentenced to approximately 20 years in state prison for her role in the shooting.  Wallette was later arrested on separate federal drug trafficking charges and was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

Later on in the investigation, in April of 2022, investigators located a new organization stash house on Nebraska Avenue in Spokane. On several occasions, Riggs was observed arriving and exiting the stash house. Investigators also observed Riggs meet with individuals identified as drug users and engaging in activities consistent with distributing drugs.

On April 13, 2022, a search warrant was executed at the Nebraska Avenue stash house. Riggs was at the home at the time the warrant was executed. During the search, agents found a small of amount of methamphetamine, and ecstasy pills inside Riggs’s purse. In the living room, agents located a quarter pound of methamphetamine sitting on a coffee table. Agents also located two 9mm pistols hidden behind a false wall in the residence. A few days prior to the execution of the search warrant, a separte warrant was executed on Rigg’s Range Rover and $13,000 in U.S. Currency, and the cell phone used during the robbery were located, as well as a .22 caliber firearm that was located in a backpack with paperwork for Riggs as well as Wallette.

An additional stash house was located in Spokane on Walnut Street in May 2022. Physical surveillance revealed a drug courier was utilizing a Lexus vehicle, registered to Riggs, to distribute drugs in the Spokane area. Law enforcement stopped the drug courier as they were leaving stash house, resulting in the recovery of more than two pounds of methamphetamine, six firearms, and around 3,000 fentanyl pills.

During sentencing, Judge Peterson noted Riggs was engaged in “very egregious” conduct by moving massive amounts of drugs into the community – drugs that destroy families – and did so while armed, which increases the danger to all. Judge Peterson also noted Riggs’ text messages showed the clear enthusiastic involvement Riggs had for her continued participation in the organization.  In pronouncing the eleven year sentence, Judge Peterson also stated her concern with Riggs’s stated intent to continue her relationship with Wallette, warning Riggs that she will be judged by the company she keeps, and her continued association with him would be “determinantal to [her] future.”

“Ms. Riggs engaged in trafficking significant amounts of illegal narcotics in our community. She also had a reputation as someone who would use violence to accomplish the bidding of drug trafficking organizations,” said U.S. Attorney Waldref.  “My office is committed to stopping the flow of deadly narcotics into our neighborhoods. We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute dangerous individuals involved with drug trafficking to make our communities safer and stronger.”

“Ms. Riggs played a key role in a drug trafficking organization the dealt large amounts of fentanyl and methamphetamine to our community,” said David F. Reames, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division. “The DEA and our partners worked hard in this case to stop her and this sentence will protect our community from the deadly trifecta of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and firearms that Ms. Riggs brought to our area.”

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Spokane Police Department, and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Caitlin Baunsgard. 

Contact

Robert Curry

Public Affairs Specialist 

USAWAE.Media@usdoj.gov 

Updated March 12, 2024

Topic
Drug Trafficking