Yam Yams: Gives whole new meaning to Ribs and Coke, please!
  • Yam Yams: Gives whole new meaning to "Ribs and Coke, please!"

The Oregonian has the news from Portland Police today that tasty but shabbily-decorated North Portland barbecue place Yam Yam's was possibly a money-laundering front for a "coke kingpin."

North Portland resident James Ray "Lonnie" Yoakum is charged with running a $300,000 a month cocaine operation in town, using Yam Yam's to make the money look legit. After using wiretaps and other surveillance, police arrested Yoakum with $11,000 in cash on his person. Yoakum told authorities that he was a cook at Yam Yams and officers found $60,000 more in a safe at the restaurant. That's a lot of $5 jambalayas.

Investigators also accuse Yoakum's sons of dirty business. Yoakum's 19-year-old son is accused of having a hand in a Northeast gun fight that left a rival gang member wounded on Killingsworth and the other is accused of robbing two California medical marijuana clinics.

While the Yoakum family waits in jail, the fate of Yam Yams and their delicious savory bbq sauce remains unclear.