Man pleads guilty to lesser charge in suspected Pasco fencing operation

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldNovember 21, 2012 

A Pasco auto shop owner who had been accused of buying stolen property pleaded guilty Tuesday to a reduced charge, two weeks after a judge tossed out most of the evidence in the case.

Jesus Arellano Chavarria, 40, was sentenced to two months in jail for his plea to one count of second-degree taking a vehicle without permission, a felony.

He was given credit for having served the time. Online jail records show he'd been in custody for 111 days as of Tuesday.

Chavarria was arrested Aug. 1 when Kennewick police went to City Lube, 301 W. Lewis St., with a warrant to search the business for stolen pressure washers.

The officers were looking for property from one of their cases but discovered other suspected stolen items, according to police and court documents.

A Pasco detective then connected a framing nail gun to an earlier burglary reported by Roberts Construction in Richland.

An employee positively identified the nail gun, along with two smaller trim saws, a wire feed welder, a 17-gallon compressor and a concrete cut-off saw, documents stated.

Pasco police called it a large-scale fencing operation. Chavarria, who was at the business at the time, told officers after his arrest that he scraps stuff.

Earlier this month, Judge Craig Matheson granted a defense motion to suppress most of the items seized.

Matheson ruled that police went beyond the scope of a search warrant when they entered an adjacent property that was not listed. He also threw out two additional warrants that were issued based on items found during the first search.

Deputy Prosecutor Tim Dickerson admitted last week that he needed to change the nature of his case and consider calling a different set of witnesses based on the rulings.

On Tuesday, Dickerson said this was the plea agreement he came to after re-evaluating the case.

The amended information filed by prosecutors stated Chavarria took a white 1989 Toyota Camry. Chavarria's plea statement said he intentionally drove a Chevrolet pickup without the owner's permission.

After pleading guilty, he told the judge that he buys items all the time and now must be more careful with whom he does business.

The charge of first-degree trafficking stolen property was dismissed as a result of the plea agreement.

Chavarria's only felony history before this crime was a conspiracy to deliver cocaine in Yakima County in 1999.

The court Tuesday ordered Chavarria to either forfeit a pistol that was seized in the search to Pasco police for destruction or return it to the owner who is an employee's wife. Documents stated that at no time did Chavarria have possession of the pistol.

Jail officials said late Tuesday that Chavarria still was behind bars on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold.

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