Kennewick drug suspect has new charges

A 28-year-old man accused of delivering methamphetamine faces new charges he conspired to "get at" a key witness so his upcoming trial would end in an acquittal.

Joshua Nathanael Hambrook "thought that the only way his future would get better was if he took care of (the witness) because he was facing 20 years in prison," according to court documents.

The Kennewick man has pleaded innocent in Benton County Superior Court to conspiracy for tampering with a witness. He is being held in the Benton County jail on $100,000 bail, with trial set Sept. 17.

The charge is defined as agreeing with another person to engage in the conduct of tampering, then taking a substantial step by contacting the witness with the intent of having them absent from trial.

Hambrook already has three other pending cases, including the delivery crime that also has a Sept. 17 trial date.

In that case, prosecutors allege a confidential informant was working with the Kennewick Police Department's Criminal Apprehension Team when meth was purchased from Hambrook on two separate occasions.

Both buys, which occurred in July and August 2011, were controlled, meaning an undercover officer searched the confidential informant before and after the transaction and gave them pre-recorded money, court documents said. The person was driven to the locations and watched as they met up with Hambrook, documents said.

The crystalline substance sold on both occasions tested positive for methamphetamine.

Kennewick officers then served a search warrant Aug. 31 on Hambrook's home. Items seized included two digital scales, numerous glass smoking devices with meth in four of them, a quantity of cash and a drug ledger commonly known as an "owe list" detailing transactions, documents said.

Hambrook was arrested that same day. He is charged with two counts of delivery of meth in a school bus zone and one count of possession of meth.

He was awaiting trial in that case when he allegedly devised a plan to coax a 46-year-old man, who he believed was the confidential informant, out of hiding so Hambrook "could make him disappear," court documents said.

The purported scheme came out July 6 when police talked to one of Hambrook's acquaintances, Tara Leigh Jacobsen.

Jacobsen, 28, admitted using meth with Hambrook the day before. She said the two identified the man they believed had worked with police during the drug buys, and since late May had talked about how if Hambrook could be ensured "a favorable outcome in trial" if the witness did not show up to court, documents said.

The man is only described in court documents by his initials.

Jacobsen claimed that Hambrook first brought up this idea after a meeting with his court-appointed attorney, Kevin Holt.

Hambrook secretly recorded a meeting with Holt without his knowledge, and later played it for his friend, court documents said. Jacobsen claimed that on the recording she heard Holt say, "Is there any way you could make (the witness) not show up for your court date," documents said.

In Washington, it is illegal to record people without their knowledge.

Holt cannot comment on Jacobsen's assertions under the Rules of Professional Conduct because he still represents Hambrook.

Jacobsen further told police that it was during that meeting with his lawyer that Hambrook allegedly found out who the informant was and that the man was paid $150 by the Tri-City Metro Drug Task Force for each transaction.

Per their plan, she then contacted the witness on Facebook and set up a meeting with him so Hambrook "could get at (him)," which likely involved letting Hambrook into the man's room, court documents said.

Jacobsen said she sent a message through the social media site, called him several times and even tried to get him at his workplace, but the man refused to meet with her, documents.

Police talked to the man, who said he had not talked to Jacobsen in six to nine months and thought it odd she would contact him after so long. He added that they rarely saw each other without Hambrook also present, and that when Jacobsen said she wanted to see him to use drugs he assumed it was to confront him about Hambrook thinking he was the confidential informant, court documents said.

"(He) stated that Jacobsen has plenty of other friends in the drug world and that she could get high with anyone so there is no other reason she would specifically want to get high with him," documents said.

Another search of Hambrook's home and vehicle after these allegations surfaced turned up drugs. Officers also reportedly viewed the Facebook posts showing Hambrook and Jacobsen tried to contact the man.

Jacobsen has not been charged in connection to the conspiracy case, according to online court records.

She has one pending Benton County Superior Court case for possessing methamphetamine, second-degree possessing stolen property and three counts of first-degree vehicle prowling.

The charges were filed July 13, and her trial is scheduled Sept. 4. She is in jail on $35,000 bail.

According to court documents, it was on July 6 when Jacobsen was contacted by police regarding an unrelated matter when she divulged that she and another man had broken into three boats at Richland's Columbia Park Marina over the Fourth of July weekend.

Jacobsen told officers she was staying at a boat in the marina when the pair decided to steal some items from the three boats, documents said. All of the targeted boats have sleeping quarters and cooking facilities, and several items were taken from each one.

Jacobsen was arrested on outstanding warrants.

During a July 10 search of Jacobsen's home, car and purse, police allegedly found a Connell Oil gas card that belongs to one of the boat owners and a small baggie of meth in the purse.

Hambrook has two other cases: one for possessing meth and amphetamine with a Sept. 24 trial, and the other for second-degree trafficking in stolen property and possessing meth with an Aug. 27 trial date.

The first two possession charges are for the July 10 search of Hambrook's car after Jacobsen came forward with the conspiracy allegations. Police were just about to search his home when they saw Hambrook drive away and stopped the vehicle, court documents said.

And last October, a man found a Craigslist ad with his spray paint machine that had been stolen nearly two weeks earlier. The victim arranged to meet with the seller in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant, and identified the stolen paint sprayer by the serial number, documents said.

The seller told him to just take it, but the victim also took a picture of the vehicle's license plate and gave it to police, who tracked it back to Hambrook. A search of his home then turned up numerous tools and equipment, documents said.