Pizza-Shop Owner's Pot Charges, Other Recent Stories Bring Seattle Closer to 'The Wire'

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HBO's The Wire might be the best-ever TV drama of city life, documenting the crime, corruption, etc. of a semi-fictional Baltimore and its residents. Seattle, being "Mayberry with high-rises", seems far from qualifying for such treatment. Not that a city that messed up is something to aspire to, but a few recent developments are bringing us closer. Yesterday's was a big step.

As Mike Seely noted in Voracious, David R. Mendoza--owner of Pazzo's pizza restaurant as well as a construction company called ETA and a historic theater in Bend, OR--made his first appearance in federal court after being extradited from Spain. According to the AP, Prosecutors are charging him with marijuana possession and conspiracy, money laundering, and other related illegal activities. (Among the charges are that a co-defendant used one of Mendoza's construction trucks to deliver 400 pounds of weed to a Seward Park customer.)

Prosecutors want him to forfeit the theater and two houses that they say were involved in dealing and profit-laundering. (Bonus fun facts: Mendoza was raised in gated Broadmoor and was president of Garfield High School.) Mendoza would be Wire mastermind "The Greek" if he didn't get caught; as is, he's another tragic figure like Stringer Bell or Frank Sobotka.

Mendoza's arrest comes on the heels of the big Belltown Honduran crack-ring roundup, in which SPD picked up a bunch of Hondurans (including juveniles) who, it seems, had been lured or maybe conscripted into dealing by gangs who monitor them extremely closely and threaten their families if they misbehave. (Could this be the second-ever trafficking case, after Cash Money?)

Combine all this with last year's retaliatory shootings and you've got a fair amount of depressing drama. Finally, like The Wire's Baltimore, we have struggling newspapers and a mayoral race on the horizon, though Nickels/Donaldson/Sigler/McGinn/Mallahan doesn't quite promise the cutthroat drama of Royce/Carcetti.

 
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