Police arrest suspected drug kingpin after 20 years

Police arrest suspected drug kingpin after 20 years »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland police said they have arrested an alleged drug kingpin that they have been monitoring for the better part of 20 years.

James “Lonnie” Yoakum is suspected of overseeing and operating a cocaine distribution ring out of Northeast Portland that may have been pulling in about $300,000 each month.

Investigators said Yoakum allegedly used Portland gang members to distribute the drugs.

Police said it appears the operation was partially fronted out of the a local restaurant called “Yam Yam’s” and that the drug business also reached into Vancouver, Wash.

Police said they found tens of thousands of dollars in a safe at the business and that the money likely had nothing to do with the restaurant.

Police also arrested two men identified as Yoakum’s sons, Jaricho James Yoakum and Lonnell George Yoakum. All three men are being held in jail pending legal proceedings and multiple charges.

Police said they made their case partly by using wiretaps on phone conversations. The Oregonian newspaper reported that investigators intercepted one call from Lonnell Yoakum that took place shortly after a shooting at a local market.

Portland law enforcement officials are expected to be joined by personnel from the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office in a news conference on Monday.

KATU News will update this story as more information becomes available.