Police roundup: 3 suspected drug dealers arrested at truck stop

By Paula Horton, Tri-City HeraldAugust 11, 2012 

Three suspected drug dealers were arrested at the King City Truck Stop after Tri-City Metro Drug Task Force detectives searched their truck and found three pounds of meth hidden inside.

Armando Santana-Diaz, 26, of Quincy, Jose Gameros-Garcia, 36, of Ephrata, and Victor Manuel Navarro-Lopez, 34, of Pasco, are each being held in the Franklin County jail on $25,000 bail.

All three men made their first appearances Friday in Franklin County Superior Court, where Judge Carrie Runge found probable cause to hold them on investigation of possessing methamphetamine with intent to deliver.

Metro detectives arrested the men after getting a warrant this week to search the 1997 Ford F-150 they were in at the truck stop north of Pasco, court documents said.

During the search, three large plastic cellophane-wrapped parcels were found hidden behind the paneling in the back passenger area along the driver's side, documents said.

Inside the cellophane was a off-white crystalline substance, suspected to be meth.

A Ruger P89 9mm semi-automatic pistol also was found in the rear passenger seat occupied by Gameros-Garcia, documents said. The pistol was loaded and concealed in a black coat.

Another loaded gun, a FEG 9mm semi-automatic pistol was found hidden under the center of the driver's seat, documents said. Santana-Diaz, the driver, and Navarro-Lopez, the front seat passenger, both apparently had access to it.

All three men were booked into the Franklin County jail.

Pasco shooting suspect sent back from California

A 41-year-old suspect accused of shooting another man in the chest last March was found in California and returned to Pasco.

Edgar Martinez made his first appearance Friday in Franklin County Superior Court where he is charged with first-degree assault.

Martinez, who prosecutors said has no prior criminal history, is being held in the Franklin County jail on $100,000 bail.

According to court documents, Pasco police were called to Lourdes Medical Center at 8 p.m. March 31, 2011, after Israel Garcia went there to be treated for a gunshot wound to his chest.

Detectives discovered Martinez had shot Garcia in the chest with a pistol while Garcia was sitting in a car, documents said.

The next day, Garcia was shown a photo lineup and identified Martinez from the photos as the man who shot him, documents said..

Martinez, who reportedly was living in Umatilla at the time, was not found and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Martinez is expected back in court Tuesday to enter a plea. Defense attorney Karla Kane was appointed to represent him.

Benton City assault suspect arrested

A 21-year-old Benton City man was arrested Thursday for allegedly assaulting another man with a knife.

Benton County sheriff's deputies were called to Benton City on Tuesday after a woman reported her boyfriend was being assaulted by Alejandro Ayala, said Capt. Clay Vannoy.

Ayala was armed with a knife and reportedly had a handgun, Vannoy said.

Ayala took off before deputies arrived and they weren't able to find him. On Thursday, a deputy spotted Ayala driving in a Honda and was able to stop and arrest him without a problem.

The victim in the assault was treated for some superficial cuts, Vannoy said.

Marijuana plants seized by Kennewick police

Kennewick police seized 29 marijuana plants from an outdoor grow this week.

The plants were found in the 2000 block of South Palouse Street by a Skagit County deputy who said he spotted the plants as he flew his helicopter over Kennewick on his way back to the west side, police said.

The deputy emailed pictures he took from the helicopter, along with an affidavit, to Kennewick police.

The department's Criminal Apprehension Team served a warrant at the home and found about a pound of processed marijuana and 59 plants growing in the yard, authorities said.

The resident had medical marijuana documentation for himself and a patient he said he was providing for, and told detectives he had been growing marijuana for four years, authorities said.

The documentation, however, said he only could have 30 plants, so detectives seized 29 for evidence. A report was forwarded to prosecutors to review for possible charges of manufacturing marijuana, police said.

Sunnyside cops might have found chop shop

An investigation into a vehicle theft by Sunnyside police ended up uncovering a suspected chop shop in Granger, authorities said.

Sunnyside police Officer Tony Russell was investigating a car theft that occurred Sunday and got enough information to search a home in the 300 block of East A Street, said Sgt. Kent Coffman.

When officers searched a building, three vehicles that had been swiped from Sunnyside, Yakima and Toppenish were found disassembled, he said.

More than 180 grams of drugs, drug materials and various auto parts were also seized, Coffman said.

Adan R. Villa, 19, was arrested on warrants and suspicion of first-degree theft. Additional charges are pending.

Sunnyside police say at least one more suspect will be charged in connection with the chop shop case.

Burglars hit unlocked homes in Richland

Richland police are investigating the third in a series of burglaries involving unlocked homes.

Police were called at 8:40 a.m. Friday to a home in the 400 block of Greenbrook Place after a homeowner reportedly heard someone inside. The suspect was believed to have run away onto the golf course, but police were unable to find the suspect, and several people in the area told police they hadn't seen anything suspicious.

Friday's incident came on the heels of another reported burglary Thursday in the same block.

A resident reported hearing noises inside the house and seeing a man about 6 feet tall with a medium build fleeing onto the golf course.

Richland police searched with the help of a Kennewick K-9 team but lost the suspect's scent in a creek.

A similar incident occurred Wednesday in the 1900 block of Orchard Way, where someone entered an unlocked home and reportedly stole cash and other property while the residents were asleep.

Richland police are encouraging residents to lock their homes and to report any suspicious activity immediately.

Anybody with information on these cases is asked to call 628-0333.

* Reporter Michelle Dupler contributed to this report.

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