June 26, 2017

Archives for September 2011

Heroin Dealer Busted after 4-Month Investigation

On September 27, 2011, the Northwest Regional Drug Task Force (NWRDTF) completed a four-month long investigation into a heroin dealer operating out of theFerndale,Washingtonarea.  Over the course of the investigation, an agent of the NWRDTF purchased heroin from the suspect on multiple occasions.

 On Tuesday, September 27, the NWRDTF served a search warrant on the suspect’s residence located in the 1900 block ofTrigg Road,Ferndale,Washington.  The suspect was taken into custody without incident, as well as a second associate.  Detectives seized approximately one pound of heroin from within the residence, as well as $1,100 US currency and a loaded handgun.

 The primary suspect in this investigation is George Villaluz Jr., a 44 year old male who lives at1942 Trigg Road.  He was arrested and booked into the Whatcom County Jail on investigation of the following charges:

              Delivery of a Controlled Substance-Heroin (4 counts)

              Possession of Heroin with Intent to Deliver

              Possession of a Schedule 3 Controlled Substance

              Unlawful Possession of a Firearm 1st Degree

              Maintaining a Premises for Drug Purposes

 Villaluz also has an extensive criminal background with 11 felony convictions including Robbery and multiple counts of Assault.

 A second suspect was also arrested.  He was identified as Ismael Esparza-Nunez, a 24 year old male who lives in Mt. Vernon, Washington.  Esparza-Nunez was arrested on the investigation of Possession of Heroin with Intent to Deliver. An immigration detainer was also placed on Esparza-Nunez by the US Border Patrol after it was discovered that he is illegally in theUnited States.

 The Drug Task Force was assisted in this investigation by the Ferndale Police Department, US Border Patrol and ICE.

 Sheriff Elfo said:

 “Over the past year, Whatcom County has experienced a rise in heroin related deaths, overdoses and criminal violence.  Here we have an 11 time convicted felon, armed with a loaded handgun, dealing heroin out of a home in a residential neighborhood.  Law enforcement and the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office are going to be relentless in pursuing these types of investigations and prosecutions.”

Trafficking in Stolen Property and Burglary Arrests

Following an extensive investigation into a residential burglary that occurred on September 13th in the 2100 block of Burke Road in Blaine, Deputies arrested a group of prolific burglars, recovered thousands of dollars in stolen property and dismantled a criminal organization that was trafficking in stolen property.

On September 20th, Guy Harlin Hovander (5-22-77), living in the 5200 block of Olson Road in Ferndale and his cousin, Navarone G.B. Randmel (7-10-89) living in the 1400 block of E Street in Bellingham were arrested on charges of Residential Burglary, First Degree Theft, Theft of a Motor Vehicle, Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree and Possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

As part of the investigation, Deputies executed a search warrant at a trailer in the 1800 block of H Street Road in Blaine and located stolen property that resulted in the arrest of Lawrence Michael Wasisco (9-17-66) of the same address.  Wasisco was wanted on unrelated felony charges and refused to admit deputies to the residence.  Trailers loaded with property stolen in the burglary were found at his residence.  Wasisco was charged with Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree, Trafficking in Stolen Property and Obstructing Law Enforcement.

Also arrested in connection with trafficking and possession of the property stolen in the burglary was Austin Markusen (2-16-75) of the 3900 block of Bay Road in Blaine.  The property included jewelry, electronics and other items stolen from the burglary.  Markusen was charged with Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree and Trafficking in Stolen Property. Krista Janine Wieandt (5-17-87) of the same address, was arrested on charges of Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree.

As part of the investigation, Deputies learned that a trailer stolen during a burglary that was reported to have occurred on August 17th on Marine Drive in Bellingham was used to transport the stolen property.  This trailer was recovered and Deputies charged Hovander and Randmel with an additional charge of possession of a stolen vehicle.

All five suspects were booked into the Whatcom County Jail.

While being interviewed by Deputies, Randmel attempted to discard heroin.  He was also found to be in possession of marijuana and a syringe which were concealed in his underwear under his testicles. Deputies also charged Randmel with Possession of a Controlled Substance (heroin) and Possession of Marijuana under 40 grams.

Randmel was shot by a homeowner on September 13th as he attempted to enter her home.  The investigation into that incident continues.

The investigation into this criminal episode is continuing.

Sheriff Elfo said: “These arrests have dismantled an organization and individuals that have long been suspected of burglary and trafficking in stolen property.  Our investigation will continue and be focused on solving additional crimes and recovering more stolen property.”

Sheriff’s Office Responds to Anthrax Threat Letter Received at Courthouse

Whatcom County Sheriff’s Deputies respond to initial call at Courthouse, secure and evacuate building due to possible hazardous substance.

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/09/14/2185399/wa-courthouse-evacuated-in-powder.html

Deputies Handle Major Crime Spree in N. County

Sheriff’s Office responds to multiple in-progress crimes, burglary suspect shot by homeowner.

At approx. 1611 hours on Sept 13, 2011 deputies responded to a report of a possible burglary in progress in the 7700 block of Hamm Road.  A neighbor called 911 to report that a subject had entered a house and removed a large television.  The suspect was reported to have left in a silver Honda.  Deputies found that the door had been kicked in at the residence.  A license plate was obtained for the suspect vehicle which led deputies to an address where the vehicle and suspect were at.  The stolen property was recovered and the suspect was arrested.  Arrested was: Concepcion Ortiz 10-05-1977 of 4563 California Trail inBlaine,WA. 

At approx 1431 hours deputies were investigating an interrupted burglary in the 2100 Block of Burk Road.  The homeowner came home to find a white Ford Ranger pickup truck at his residence and a male subject running from the front of the house.  Another subject was in the truck which then fled through the property and was pursued by the owner in his truck.  They crashed through two fences and onto the roadway.  The homeowner lost sight of the suspect vehicle in the area of Haynie and Valleyview roads.  Discovered at the residence was the scene of an extensive burglary where suspects had removed a significant amount of personal property, including some firearms, and household items which had been packed up for moving  as the house is for sale.  Possibly involved in the burglary is a fully enclosed grey car transport trailer also taken from the scene. 

 A short time later, a resident in the 3000 block of Behme Road reports the abandoned white pickup parked behind his residence.  The description matches the suspect vehicle from the burglary.  A canine track was initiated as it appeared that the suspects fled on foot into a wooded area at 1600 hours.

During the canine track deputies contacted a male subject who was on foot in the area and was seen running away at approx 1947 hours. He was later contacted in association with a residence in the 3100 block of Behme Road, where an active marijuana grow operation was then discovered by deputies.  It was determined that this subject was not associated with the burglary and was staying on the property where other persons were operating the marijuana grow.  The occupants claimed to have a medical certificate.  The grow operation is under investigation and approximately 100 plants were seized.

 At approx 2218 hours, residents in the 2900 block of Behme road reported to 911 that a suspicious person had come to their house.  The callers stated that they were aware of police activity in the area concerning the burglary.  The suspect asked to use their phone, refused to leave and became evasive in response to questions about why he was in the area.  The woman residing there with her husband called 911 and obtained a handgun from the house.  She came outside and saw that the suspect was trying to force his way into the garage past her husband so she fired shots and the suspect ran from the scene.  The suspect was located a short time later near the roadway in the 2900 block ofBehme Road.  He had a gunshot wound to his back.  The suspect was transported to St. Josephs Hospital in Bellingham and later interviewed by Sheriff’s Office Detectives.  This incident remains under investigation as of this time.