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Spokane/East. Wash/North Idaho News Releases for Mon. Apr. 22 - 2:45 am
Fri. 04/19/24
Spokane Man Found with Methamphetamine and 1,700 Fentanyl Pills Sentenced to Prison for Drug Trafficking
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 04/19/24 10:57 AM

Spokane, Washington - Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Henry Patrick Bevans, III, age 40, of Spokane, Washington, was sentenced after pleading guilty to one count of Possession with the Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Actual (Pure) Methamphetamine. United States District Judge Thomas O. Rice imposed a sentence of 168 months imprisonment to be followed by 10 years of supervised release.

According to court documents and information presented at the sentencing hearing, in January of 2023, the Liberty Lake Police Department (LLPD) was investigating suspected drug trafficking at a local hotel. Officers observed a vehicle, suspected to be involved in drug related activity, parked at the hotel for several days. 

On January 31, 2023, officers observed a man and a woman use the vehicle to drive from the hotel to a gas station a short distance away. An LLPD officer contacted the man driving and confirmed the man was Bevans. LLPD arrested Bevans on a felony warrant from the Department of Corrections. When he was arrested, Bevans was on supervised release following a 10-year prison sentence for a conviction in 2014 on drug distribution charges. 

LLPD obtained and executed a state search warrant for the vehicle.  Officers located 131 grams of methamphetamine, 1,750 fentanyl-laced pills, as well as a smaller amounts of other controlled substances inside the car. Officers also located a taser, an air pistol, a digital scale with drug residue, zip lock baggies and zip ties, a drug ledger, and more than $1,000 in cash inside the vehicle. 

“Despite periods of incarceration and rehabilitation, Mr. Bevans continued to distribute dangerous and illicit controlled substances. My office is committed to stopping the flow of deadly drugs into our neighborhoods,” stated U.S. Attorney Waldref. “I’m grateful for the tireless dedication of all those that join us in this critical mission. By working together, we can effectively combat the opioid epidemic and make our communities safer and stronger.”

“People like Mr. Bevans, who persistently distribute drugs after completing their incarceration, present a clear danger to our communities,” said David F. Reames, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division. “The Drug Enforcement Administration and our partners are committed to ensuring the safety of our communities by holding people like Mr. Bevans accountable as many times as it takes to protect the public from this grave threat.”

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Liberty Lake Police Department. 


Thu. 04/18/24
Elevate Partnership Secures Multi-Million Dollar Grant from Gates Foundation (Photo)
ESD 123 - 04/18/24 3:06 PM
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PASCO, WA – Educational Service District 123 (ESD 123) is thrilled to be part of a regional partnership that has been awarded a three-year Horizons Regional Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The southeast regional partnership is one of four regions awarded a Horizons Regional Grant, which focuses on addressing the low rate of students enrolling in post-secondary education in Washington state. 

As the official grant recipient, the United Way of the Blue Mountains is utilizing its coalition of community stakeholders, known as Elevate, to spearhead the region’s work. Under Elevate, the following southeast Washington entities will collaborate to carry out the grant work plan:

  • United Way of the Blue Mountains
  • Educational Service District 123
  • Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Communities in Schools of the Blue Mountain Region
  • Port of Columbia
  • College Place, Dayton, Prescott, and Walla Walla School Districts
  • Walla Walla Community College and Whitman College

The grant aims to bolster and expand programs to help more students transition from K-12 into post-secondary education pathways. Amanda Mount, Elevate Director of Policy & Advocacy with United Way of Blue Mountains, says that a number of factors contribute to a lower college-going rate in southeast Washington. 

“Some students are concerned about affordability and the time to get a degree,” Mount says. “Others may perceive getting a credential won’t help their earnings in the long run. Few Washington students complete the Federal Financial Aid Form (FAFSA). These grant dollars will help expand more staff at high schools to help with postsecondary planning.”

At ESD 123, Regional Career Connected Learning Coordinator Jim Kindle will be instrumental in leading the ESD’s collaboration with districts, communities, and partners. Kindle’s work will focus on strategic partnerships between schools, businesses, and industry, leading to workforce development initiatives (internships and apprenticeships) that are aligned with local school systems and labor market needs.

Preparing students for success in both college and careers contributes to the economic prosperity of our schools and communities across Columbia and Walla Walla Counties. Additional information on the Gates Foundation Horizons Regional Grants can be found at https://washingtonstate.gatesfoundation.org/what-we-do/washington-state-education/supporting-local-partnerships. For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact Molly Curtiss, ESD 123 Director of Communications, at 509.544.5787 or tiss@esd123.org">mcurtiss@esd123.org.

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Thirty-Four Individuals from Across the United States Indicted on Charges of Criminal Conspiracy Involving Illegal Drugs, Firearms, Money Laundering, Cockfighting and Attempts to Kill Witnesses
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 04/18/24 2:17 PM

Yakima, Washington – United States Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref announced today that twenty-eight people are in state or federal custody following the return of six separate indictments alleging more than two dozen charges against thirty-four separate defendants. Certain of the individuals indicted are not yet in federal custody.

The arrests follow a long-term joint federal and state investigation led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives into La Nuestra Familia (NF), a violent prison gang responsible for trafficking dangerous drugs into our community for the enrichment of their members, which includes leaders of this organization who, in some cases, are serving life sentences in the United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado (USP Florence ADMAX).  USP Florence ADMAX is one of the Bureau of Prisons’ most secure facilities, providing an even higher level of custody than a regular maximum-security prison. 

The arrests are the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation that began in approximately 2018 and spanned multiple jurisdictions from various locations in Washington State, to include Yakima County, the Yakama Reservation, Spokane County, and Walla Walla County. The operation also extended into Louisiana, Colorado, and Arkansas. 

The conspiracy indictment alleges Robert Patrick Hanrahan, Rigoberto Escobedo Gonzalez, Travis Michael McGuire, and Jose Alfredo Chavez Arredondo, acted as supervisors to dozens of individuals engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise that included possession and distribution of illegal drugs, cockfighting, possession of illegal firearms, illegal use of the U.S. Mail, and attempts to kill those who assisted law enforcement in this investigation.  Multiple individuals have also been charged with laundering the proceeds made from these illicit ventures.

Upon release of the conspiracy indictment, which was unsealed earlier today upon the arrest of several suspects, United States Attorney Waldref stated, “I am grateful for the coordinated efforts of so many law enforcement agencies, who simultaneously executed more than twenty search warrants in the Yakima area and across the United States earlier today. More than 350 federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement came together to coordinate the takedown of this alleged drug trafficking operation.”  U.S. Attorney Waldref continued, “It is an honor to lead important prosecutions, such as this one, which has removed illegal drugs and firearms from our community and illegal narcotics from the Bureau of Prisons. Our community and our nation are safer and stronger as a result of the incredible work of our law enforcement and prosecution teams.” 

During the operation, agents seized approximately 37 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, pound quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine, as well as more than 8,000 fentanyl-laced pills.  Additionally, the law enforcement team seized more than $20,000 in U.S. currently. Agents also seized hundreds of roosters from locations in Zillah and Outlook, Washington. The roosters were allegedly used in cockfights. Many of the roosters are being turned over to the care of Heartwood Haven Animal Rescue located in Roy, Washington. 

According to unsealed charging documents, the following individuals have been indicated in connection with ATF’s joint investigation. The United States anticipates brining additional charges against other individuals identified during the execution of search warrants early today. In addition, the names of others indicted in connection with this investigation will be unsealed upon the arrest of those individuals.

 

  • Fabian Arredondo a/k/a “DV,” 34, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances and Conspiracy to Launder Money.
  • Joanna Arredondo, 34, charged with Conspiracy to Launder Money 
  • Jose Alfredo Chavez Arredondo a/k/a “Cuyi,” 43, charged with Continuing Criminal Enterprise, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, Conspiracy to Distribute Fentanyl, Distribution of Cocaine, Conspiracy to Launder Money, Unlawful Animal Fighting
  • Jose Alfredo Ricardo Arredondo a/k/a “Papaz,” 25, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, Distribution of Cocaine, Unlawful Possession of a Machinegun 
  • Alexa Joann Carras-Blackburn, 35, charged with Conspiracy to Launder Money
  • Pablo Angel Castellon a/k/a “Sapo,” 40, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances, Conspiracy to Launder Money 
  • Mayda Ivette Castellon, 36, charged with Conspiracy to Launder Money
  • Jacenir Amezcua Dasilva a/k/a “Serio,” 30, charged with Conspiracy to Launder Money, Attempt to Retaliate Against a Federal Witness, Conspiracy to Retaliate Against a Federal Witness
  • Marco Anthony Gomez, Jr.  a/k/a “Silky,” 45, charged with Conspiracy to Launder Money
  • Rigoberto Escobedo Gonzalez a/k/a “Crazy Thugg,” 35, charged with Continuing Criminal Enterprise, Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance, Distribution of Cocaine, Conspiracy to Launder Money
  • Robert Patrick Hanrahan a/k/a “Bubba,” 52, charged with Continuing Criminal Enterprise, Conspiracy to Launder Money
  • Jazmine Renea Hart, 32, charged with Conspiracy to Launder Money
  • Maria Esperanza Hermoso, 28, Conspiracy to Launder Money
  • Adrean Kendall Lafollette a/k/a “Hunger,” 33, charged with Conspiracy to Launder Money
  • Travis Michael Mcguire a/k/a “Slim,” 49, charged with Continuing Criminal Enterprise, Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance, Conspiracy to Unlawfully Use a Communication Facility, Attempted Possession with Intent to Distribute 40 Grams or More of Fentanyl, Attempted Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, Conspiracy to Launder Money
  • Jesus Antonio Mirelez a/k/a “Dizzy,” 34, Conspiracy to Launder Money, Felon in Possession of a Firearm
  • Felipe Feliciano Ramirez a/k/a “Casper,” 44, charged with Conspiracy to Unlawfully Use a Communications Facility, Conspiracy to Launder Money
  • Logan Paul Scheck a/k/a “Sin,” 31, Conspiracy to Launder Money
  • Brian Lee Sellers, 62, charged with Conspiracy to Unlawfully Use a Communications Facility, Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance, Conspiracy to Launder Money
  • Misael Vazquez-Moreno, 26, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Fentanyl
  • Fernando Villegas, 25, charged with Unlawful Animal Fighting
  • Thomas Lee Weatherwax a/k/a “Wax,” 25, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances, Conspiracy to Launder Money
  • Yesika Escobedo Zaragoza, 40, charged with Conspiracy to Money Launder
  • Arthur Frank Cardenas a/k/a “Porkchop,” 45, charged with Attempt to Retaliate Against a Federal Witness, Conspiracy to Retaliate Against a Federal Witness
  • Joshua Isaac Stine a/k/a “Heat,” 39, charged with Attempt to Retaliate Against a Federal Witness, Conspiracy to Retaliate Against a Federal Witness
  • Hugo Enrique Davadi a/k/a “Flako,” 36, charged with Distribution of 40 Grams or More of Fentanyl

 

Certain of the individuals will be arraigned at the Yakima and Spokane Federal Courthouses at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 19.  

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives conducted the investigation along with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S Marshals Service, U.S. Border Patrol, Federal Bureau of Prisons, ICE Enforcement Removal Operations, Washington State Patrol, Washington State Department of Corrections, Washington State Gambling Commission, Yakima Police Department, Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, Grandview Police Department, Walla Walla Regional Drug Task Force, Selah Police Department, Spokane Police Department, and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. 

Assistant United States Attorneys from the Eastern District of Washington are prosecuting the case.  Former AUSA Frances Walker was the initial prosecutor on the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Wed. 04/17/24
Media Advisory
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 04/17/24 5:45 PM

Yakima, WA:  At 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, Vanessa R. Waldref, ATF Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Blais, Yakima Police Chief Matthew Murray, Yakima County Sheriff Robert Udell, as well as additional federal, state, and local law enforcement, anticipate holding a joint press conference to make a significant law enforcement announcement relating to Eastern Washington and elsewhere.    

The press event is scheduled to take place in front of the William O. Douglas Federal Courthouse, located at 25 S. 3rd St., Yakima, WA 98901.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office anticipates being able to release additional information immediately prior to the press conference.