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AUGUST 11, 1997

Front Page

Charges yet to be filed against Duvall councilmember

  by Lisa Allen, Valley View Editor
   DUVALL--The King County Prosecutor's office says a decision should be made this week on what, if any, charges will be filed against Councilmember Ernie Zumwalt who was arrested during a drug raid August 1.
   "The case is still under investigation," said King County Prosecutor spokesman Dan Donohoe last week.
   Last Tuesday, Zumwalt , 40, posted a $10,000 bond which is refundable since charges were not filed within 72 hours of his arrest, said Donohoe. Although Zumwalt was not a target of the larger drug raid conducted on two area houses, he had been under suspicion by Duvall Police for allegedly selling cocaine, said Duvall Police Sgt. Bob Akey.
   The raid was conducted on a house on Kennedy Drive in the city, and a mobile home in a rural area just off Big Rock Road, just east of the fire station. The raids were part of a coordinated effort between Duvall Police and the Eastside Narcotics Task Force.
   Akey said several tips had led police to Zumwalt. As a result of those tips, an undercover agent allegedly was able to buy a quantity of drugs from Zumwalt about a month ago.
   "Letters and phone calls identified other persons of interest that led to the two search warrants being issued," he said. The raids involved virtually all the officers in the Duvall department, four Eastside Task Force members and several members of the Bellevue Police Department. The departments used NE 138th south of town for a staging area, blocking traffic there, to the annoyance of at least one person who lived at the end of the road.
   "They told me I couldn't go down the road," the resident said last week. "I told them I was going home, so I went right past them."
   The house on Big Rock Road was "assaulted" first and only one person was there and he wasn't the homeowner, Akey said. "But while police were there, several people who came by were questioned."
   Police hit the house on Kennedy Drive next, not finding the homeowner there, either. But while the raids were being conducted, Duvall Police Sgt. Bob Akey and officer Kevin Hawley saw Zumwalt drive by in a van on SR-203 at Kennedy Drive.
   Knowing there was probable cause to arrest Zumwalt, Akey stopped the van and detained Zumwalt and his passenger and fellow councilmember, Tom Loutsis. After the officers found a quantity of "a controlled substance believed to be cocaine" in the van, Zumwalt and Loutsis were both taken to Bellevue Police headquarters, Akey said.
   "When we stopped the van, Tom was surprised, but Ernie was very somber," Akey said. Although no drugs were found on Loutsis, he was booked, questioned and released. Zumwalt was the only one taken to King County Jail.
   The owners of the two houses are believed to be in hiding, said Akey. All in all, a total of 20 people were detained at both residences and six transported to the Bellevue Police Department. A quantity of cocaine, methamphetamines, cash, four rifles, including a loaded M1 and a couple of handguns were confiscated from the two houses, Akey said.
   "We have more arrests to make and search warrants yet to serve," Akey said.
   "For 12 years the standard police line is that there have always been drugs going through town," Akey said. "But just recently we have had more complaints, both verbal and written and some from parents of Cedarcrest High students." Akey claimed the drug problem at Cedarcrest is not severe.
   "We have seen drugs go through there to a certain degree like anywhere," he said. "By targeting the people we did we hope to keep them out of the hands of teenagers. We should have made a substantial dent in the amount of illicit narcotics coming through town. Already, we have heard supplies are tight right now."