Judge voids ballot measure banning safe drug injection sites

SEATTLE (AP) — A King County judge has voided a ballot measure that would have banned safe injection sites for drug users.

Superior Court Judge Veronica Alicea Galvan ruled Monday that Initiative 27 extends beyond the scope of the initiative power. She ordered that it not be placed on the February ballot.

The judge wrote that the Supreme Court has recognized the broad authority public health officials have in protecting public health.

A group of public health experts and others sued in August to block the proposed King County initiative.

A spokesman for I-27 previously called the lawsuit another attempt to disenfranchise voters who want to have a say on the radical proposal.

I-27 sought to ban supervised sites where people can use heroin and other drugs.

King County is considering two sites as part of a pilot program — one in Seattle and the other outside the city.


Inquest ordered in deadly shooting of pregnant Seattle woman

SEATTLE (AP) — A special hearing has been ordered into the deadly June shooting of a pregnant mother by Seattle police officers.

King County Executive Dow Constantine on Tuesday ordered an inquest into Charleena Lyles’ death June 18.

Seattle police say Lyles threatened two officers after calling 911 to report that someone had broken into her apartment and stolen video-game consoles.

The 30-year-old mother of four was shot seven times by officers who said she suddenly pulled a knife while talking to them at her apartment. Three of her children were in the apartment at the time.

King County officials say the purpose of inquests is to determine the causes and circumstances of any death involving on-duty law enforcement officers. The six-member jury will not, however, determine whether a person is civilly or criminally liable.


3 key players in drug distribution ring found guilty

SEATTLE (AP) — Three key players in a drug distribution ring that operated across Washington state were found guilty after a 10-day jury trial.

U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes says 14 others involved in the case pleaded guilty after their arrest in November 2016.

The drug ring distributed heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine in King, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties.

They had drug connections in Nevada and California.

Law enforcement investigated the ring in late 2015 and early 2016 using pole cameras, confidential sources, wire taps and undercover agents.

The investigation was named “Operation Car Wash” as some of the conspirators conducted deals at a Mount Vernon car wash.

Found guilty of drug conspiracy charges were Baltazar Reyes-Garcia, Hector Contreras-Ibarra and Angel Serrano-Carreno.

U.S. District Judge James Robart scheduled sentencing for January 16, 2018.


California man pleads guilty to groping a passenger

SEATTLE (AP) — A California man has pleaded guilty to groping and kissing a 16-year-old girl on an Alaska Airlines flight last year.

Jesse Salas was charged Monday in U.S. District Court in Seattle with one misdemeanor count of simple assault on an aircraft. He pleaded guilty Wednesday.

Salas of Redondo Beach, California, was on a flight on June 22, 2016 from Portland, Oregon to Anchorage, Alaska.

The plea agreement says he was seated next to a 16-year-old girl and after she closed her eyes, Salas grabbed her thigh. She pushed his hand away and he kissed her on the mouth. She pushed him away again and tried to put his hand into her pants.

A nearby passenger called the flight attendant and the captain diverted the plane to the Seattle airport.

Sentencing was set for Jan. 29, 2018.