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Columbia (Tri-Cities/Yakima/Pendleton) News Releases for Fri. Jun. 14 - 2:15 pm
Police & Fire
Fatal Crash - Interstate 84 - Union County
Oregon State Police - 06/14/24 1:39 PM

Union County, Ore. 13 June 24- On Thursday, June 13, 2024, at 6:43 a.m., Oregon State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 84, near milepost 270, in Union County.

The preliminary investigation indicated an eastbound GMC Yukon, operated by Tyree Jourdan Hescock (41) of La Grande, left the roadway for unknown reasons and traveled on the wrong side of a guardrail. The GMC struck the guardrail and began to roll, ejecting the operator who was not wearing a seatbelt.

The operator of the GMC (Hescock) was declared deceased at the scene.

The highway was impacted for several hours during the on-scene investigation. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

OSP was assisted by La Grande Fire, Union County Sheriff's Office, and ODOT.

# # #

About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.


Fatal Crash - HWY 101 - Coos County
Oregon State Police - 06/13/24 4:23 PM

Coos County, Ore. 11 June 24- On Tuesday, June 11, 2024, at 7:10 a.m., Oregon State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on Hwy-101, near milepost 228, in Coos County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a southbound Ford Windstar, operated by David Joseph Babb (54) of Coos Bay, left the roadway for unknown reasons, struck a tree in the southbound ditch, spun, and came to rest on its roof.

The operator of the Ford (Babb) was declared deceased at the scene.

The highway was impacted for approximately two hours during the on-scene investigation. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

OSP was assisted by Haruser Fire and ODOT.

# # #

About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.


Oregon State Police- Officer Involved Shooting- Lane County
Oregon State Police - 06/11/24 9:11 PM

Lane County, Ore. 11 June 24- Oregon State Police traffic stop ends in Officer Involved Shooting.

On Tuesday, June 11, 2024, at 4:26 p.m., an Oregon State Trooper conducted a traffic stop at the intersection of River Avenue and State Route 569 (Beltline Highway) in Eugene. During the encounter, the driver exited and attempted to obtain a firearm from the passenger side of the vehicle and a less lethal force option (Taser) was deployed but was not successful. The suspect did not comply with verbal commands and was able to obtain the firearm resulting in the trooper shooting the subject with his department-issued firearm. Emergency medical aid was immediately provided and medical personnel from Eugene-Springfield Fire Department responded; however, the subject was declared deceased at the scene. The trooper was not injured during the incident and has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation by the Lane County Inter-Agency Deadly Force Investigation Team (IDFIT).

Pursuant to the Lane County District Attorney’s Office Deadly Force Plan under Senate Bill 111 of the 2007 Oregon Legislative Session, IDFIT is conducting the investigation with the Lane County Sheriff’s Office assuming the primary role for this officer-involved shooting investigation.  IDFIT is comprised of investigators from the Oregon State Police, Lane County Sheriff’s Office, Eugene Police Department, Springfield Police Department, Cottage Grove Police Department, and Florence Police Department.  Any further information will be released by the Lane County District Attorney’s Office.


Fatal Crash - HWY 230 - Douglas County
Oregon State Police - 06/10/24 4:04 PM

Douglas County, Ore. 9 June 24- On Sunday, June 9, 2024, at 8:00 a.m., Oregon State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on Hwy-230, near milepost 10, in Douglas County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a southbound Ford F150, operated by Jason Michael Ettenberger (24) of Portland, went off the southbound shoulder of the roadway on a lefthand turn. The Ford overcorrected back across the roadway before rolling several times down an embankment and coming to rest on its passenger side. During the rolling event, the passenger in the vehicle was ejected.

The passenger, Austin Cordell Belford (31) of Eagle Point, was declared deceased at the scene. The passenger did not appear to have worn a seatbelt during the crash.

The operator of the vehicle (Ettenberger) suffered injury and was transported to an area hospital.

The highway was impacted for approximately 4.5 hours during the on-scene investigation. Speed and occupant safety (seatbelt) are considered the primary causes of the crash.

OSP was assisted by Diamond Lake Resort First Responders, Umpqua Valley Ambulance, and ODOT.

 

# # #

About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.

 


Fatal Crash- HWY 224- Clackamas County
Oregon State Police - 06/10/24 3:50 PM

Clackamas County, Ore. 9 June 24- On Sunday, June 9, 2024, at 2:46 p.m., Oregon State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on Hwy-224, near milepost 16, in Clackamas County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a westbound Chevy 1500 pickup, operated by Jose Luis Arce Tamayo (51) of Portland, left the roadway and struck a telephone pole on the north side of the highway.

A passenger in the Chevy, Rosa Delgado Perez (49) of Portland, was declared deceased at the scene.

The operator of the Chevy (Tamayo) was seriously injured and transported to an area hospital.

The highway was impacted for approximately 4.5 hours during the on-scene investigation. The cause of the crash is ongoing however, impairment is the suspected cause of the crash.

OSP was assisted by Clackamas County Fire, Wilsonville Police Department, and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

# # #

About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.


Fatal Crash- HWY 6- Washington County
Oregon State Police - 06/10/24 2:12 PM

Washington County, Ore. 7 June 24- On Friday, June 7, 2024, at 12:50 p.m., Oregon State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on Hwy 6, near milepost 33, in Washington County.

The preliminary investigation indicated an eastbound Toyota Camry, operated by Karl Gordon Peters (67) of Forest Grove, drove onto the eastbound gravel shoulder for unknown reasons, crossed back across the lanes of travel into the westbound guardrail, and rolled over the guardrail before coming to rest on its roof.

The operator (Peters) was declared deceased at the scene.

The highway was impacted for 5 hours during the on-scene investigation.

OSP was assisted by the Washington County Sheriff's Office, Banks Fire, and ODOT.

 

# # #

About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.


Fatal Crash- HWY 97 - Deschutes County
Oregon State Police - 06/10/24 2:03 PM

Deschutes County, Ore. 7 June 24- On Friday, June 7, 2024, at 8:24 a.m., Oregon State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on Hwy-97, near milepost 158, in Deschutes County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a northbound Toyota Tacoma, operated by Robert Patrick Conway (53) of Crescent, drifted off the northbound shoulder or the highway for unknow reasons. The Toyota continued down the shoulder, struck a roadway sign, struck several trees, and rolled onto it's roof.

The operator of the Toyota (Conway) was declared deceased at the scene.

The highway was not impacted during the on-scene investigation.

OSP was assisted by Deschutes Fire, Sunriver Police Department, Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, and ODOT.

 

# # #

About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.


Outbuilding fire Deschutes Market Rd 6-10-24 (Photo)
Bend Fire & Rescue - 06/10/24 1:33 PM
2024-06/6802/172918/IMG_8897.JPG
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http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-06/6802/172918/thumb_IMG_8897.JPG

Bend Fire Department was dispatched to a reported outbuilding on fire on Deschutes Market Rd just north of the city limits at 9:12 this morning. Callers indicated the fire was spreading to out buildings and brush. The outbuilding was being used as a residence for one adult occupant. Occupants from the main home were using garden hoses to help prevent the spread when crews arrived. The fire was quickly stopped by the first arriving fire crews. No one was home in this building at the time of the fire, the occupant was at work and came back when he heard of the fire. 

The fire appears to be caused by an electrical failure in the outbuilding. Power was run to the 12 by 12 building with an extension cord. Due to the fire damage the exact failure point was not determined. The fire consumed the outbuilding and car next to it. The fire spread to adjacent outbuildings but only caused exterior damage to them. Total loss is approximately $25,000. Red Cross was called to assist the adult occupant who lost his home and all belongings in the fire. 

Bend Fire Department reminds everyone to have working smoke alarms in their homes, whether it’s a tiny home, main house or RV. Smoke alarms more than double your chances of surviving a fire with their quick notification especially with the increased speed at which items burn in a home now. For assistance with your smoke alarms call our main number to set up a visit, 541-322-6300. www.bendoregon.gov/smokealarms 

National statics show that a house fire 40 years ago took up to 20 minutes to consume a room during the early stages of a fire and that same room today with modern furniture and decorations takes less than 5 minutes to burn. https://www.nfpa.org/news-blogs-and-articles/nfpa-journal/2021/06/08/1700




Attached Media Files: 2024-06/6802/172918/IMG_8897.JPG

Utilities
Pacific Power to host customer forum on wildfire mitigation
Pacific Power - 06/14/24 1:19 PM

 

A black background with a black square

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Hotline: 503-813-6018

 

Yakima, WA (June 14, 2024) – Pacific Power will host a public forum in Yakima on Tuesday, June 18 to discuss our efforts to protect customers and communities against the threat of wildfire. During this conversation, company representatives will detail the important steps we take during wildfire season to keep customers and communities safe. This forum is an opportunity to learn about our comprehensive wildfire mitigation plan in Oregon. 

 

Topics of conversation: 

  • Our ongoing work to strengthen our system.
  • Our advanced weather monitoring capabilities.
  • Our enhanced vegetation management practices.
  • Our enhanced safety settings for wildfire season.
  • How Public Safety Power Shutoffs work – an important tool when wildfire risk makes it necessary to turn off power to ensure customer and community safety.

 

Event details:   

    Tuesday, June 18 – 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

    1704 W. Nob Hill Blvd.

    Yakima, WA 98902 - Building #38

    Room 103C 

 

Livestream:

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82943911510?pwd=tKKw7W7HbQwDsYDJpLYvfZn9Iktx9Q.1

 

Protecting our customers and communities while providing safe, reliable power is our highest priority. If you have any questions or would like to request a reasonable accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at 1-888-221-7070.

 

About Pacific Power

Pacific Power provides safe and reliable electric service to more than 764,000 customers in Oregon, Washington and California. The company supplies customers with electricity from a diverse portfolio of generating plants including hydroelectric, natural gas, coal, wind, geothermal and solar resources. Pacific Power is part of PacifiCorp, one of the lowest-cost electricity producers in the United States, with 2 million customers in six western states. For more information, visit www.pacificpower.net.  


Media Availability: Pacific Power to describe wildfire protection efforts
Pacific Power - 06/14/24 1:07 PM

 

A black and white logo

Description automatically generated

                                                                                                                                                                       

Media Hotline: 503-813-6018 

 

MEDIA ADVISORY

 

WHAT:    

In preparation for wildfire season, Pacific Power is inviting members of the media to its customer public forum in Yakima to share key elements of its plans to mitigate the threat of wildfire.

A Pacific Power meteorologist and spokesperson will be available for one-on-one interviews prior to the 5:30 p.m. public forum to discuss the company’s advances in weather modeling and fire forecasting and the company’s efforts to protect communities against wildfire.

Additional footage and photos will be provided upon request.

 

WHEN:    

June 18, 2024     

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. 

 

WHERE:  

Yakima Valley College Conference Center

1704 W. Nob Hill Blvd.

Yakima, WA 98902 - Building #38

Room 103C

 

WHO:

Pacific Power Representatives

 

 

###


Military
This is War: Filmmaker Reflects 20 Years After Historic ORNG Deployment (Photo)
Oregon Military Department - 06/13/24 2:57 PM
240407-A-FS713-2762
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http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-06/962/173030/thumb_240407-A-FS713-2762.jpg

SALEM, Ore. - In 2007, the documentary "This is War" captured the harrowing experiences of an Oregon National Guard unit deployed to Iraq, where they faced some of the war's heaviest fighting. As the 20th anniversary of the 2004 deployment approaches, it's a time to reflect on the courage and sacrifice of these soldiers and the successes and struggles they've encountered since then.

"This is War" follows the journey of the Oregon National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment, known as the "Grim Reapers," during their deployment to Iraq. The film provides an intimate look at the challenges and dangers these soldiers face as they navigate the complexities of war.

Gary Mortensen, President of Stoller Wine Group and the filmmaker behind "This is War," was inspired to create the documentary after witnessing the experiences of National Guard soldiers who leave behind their families, jobs, and more to serve their country. Mortensen's goal was to shed light on the sacrifices made by these men and women and to honor their bravery in the face of adversity.

In an interview, Mortensen reflected on the film's impact and the journeys of the soldiers it portrayed.

"The 20th anniversary of the deployment depicted in 'This is War' is an important reminder of the resilience and dedication of our National Guard members," he said. "Since the documentary was released, many of these soldiers have experienced both triumphs and challenges."

The documentary captured moments of intense combat, camaraderie, and the soldiers' profound sense of duty. It also highlighted the toll that war takes on individuals and their families and the importance of community support in times of need.

As we mark two decades since the deployment depicted in "This is War," it serves as a tribute to the sacrifices made by the men and women of the Oregon National Guard and all those who have served their country. It reminds us of the resilience of the human spirit and the enduring legacy of those who answered the call to duty in the face of adversity.

Watch the documentary here: https://vimeo.com/956192350

 

                                                                               -30-

 

Released video interview: https://dvidshub.net/r/6527no

Released photos:

240407-A-FS713-5913 Gary Mortensen pauses for a photo at the Stoller Family Winery in Dayton, Ore., April 7, 2024, after conducting an interview to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the deployment of the Oregon National Guard unit he depicted in the film "This is War".

240407-A-FS713-2762 Gary Mortensen pauses for a photo with Oregon National Guard public affairs officer Maj. Chris Clyne at the Stoller Family Winery in Dayton, Ore., April 7, 2024, after conducting an interview to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the deployment of the Oregon National Guard unit he depicted in the film "This is War".




Attached Media Files: 240407-A-FS713-2762 , 240407-A-FS713-5913

Federal
Spokane Property Management Company Agrees to Pay More Than $300,000 for Fraudulently Claiming Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Rent Assistance During COVID-19 Pandemic
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 06/13/24 10:04 AM

Spokane, Washington - Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington announced All Star Property Management, LLC (All Star), a property management company located in Spokane, and Arlin Jordan, have agreed to pay $329,196 to resolve claims they falsely and fraudulently claimed hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent assistance intended to benefit struggling renters during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress established an Emergency Rent Assistance program to provide funds through local and tribal governments to benefit struggling renters who had fallen behind on rent due to unemployment or other hardship.  In Washington, the program was known as the Treasury Rent Assistance Program (T-RAP).  Under T-RAP, landlords or property management companies could apply for T-RAP federal funding for a tenant’s past due and projected unpaid rent.  As a material condition of receiving federal funds, landlords were required to certify that the information included in the T-RAP application, including the rent amounts, were truthful and accurate, and to certify compliance with material T-RAP program requirements.  Landlords were further required to apply any funds received for a particular tenant to that tenant’s balance.

According to court documents, during the relevant time period, All Star was a property management company, owned by Gieve Parker, that managed rental properties on behalf of landlords in Spokane, including several properties owned by Arlin Jordin.  Jordin was currently serving a prison sentence at the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Connell, Washington, for drugging and raping a tenant, but Jordan continued to own and collect income from Spokane properties managed by All Star, for which All Star and Jordin split the rental income. 

“All-Star Property Management, Ms. Parker, and Mr. Jordin used false and fraudulent information as part of a scheme targeting precious and limited rent assistance funds. As a result, they lined their pockets with money that should have been used to keep people in a safe, secure, affordable home during a deadly pandemic,” stated U.S. Attorney Waldref. “Landlords and property management companies need to play by the rules. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who abuse critically important housing support programs.”

As All Star Property admitted in the Settlement Agreement, All Star Property and Parker certified and submitted T-RAP applications that contained inaccurate information, including, inflated monthly rental amounts, owed rent money for months when the residents were not living at the property, and owed rent money for months where tenants were receiving rental assistance from outside organizations. This inaccurate information resulted in overpayment of federal emergency rental assistance funds for which All Star and Parker were not eligible.  With respect to rental properties managed by All Star Property for Jordin, a management fee was subtracted from received T-RAP funds and retained by All Star Property, and the remaining received T-RAP funds were paid to Jordin.  The result of which was that Jordin received overpayment of T-RAP funds that he was not otherwise entitled to.

United States Attorney Waldref further stated that, “Importantly, this case came out of Washington’s right-to-counsel program for indigent renters facing eviction.  Equal access to justice in eviction defense is helping shine a light on these fraudulent practices in ways that was not possible before this important program existed. We will continue working with community and housing rights organizations like the Northwest Justice Project to hold landlords accountable when they put profits before tenant’s rights.” 

This case was originally brought by the Northwest Justice Project, Washington’s largest legal aid organization, on behalf of Krystal Jeffries, a former tenant in a property owned by Jordin and managed by All Star.  Under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers may file an action under seal in federal court. The United States investigates the allegations and determines whether to intervene in the action.  Under the False Claims Act, the United States may recover up to three times the damages caused by the Defendant, plus additional penalties for each false claim or statement.  Over the past decade, False Claims Act recoveries in the Eastern District of Washington have exceeded $400 million.  If the United States obtains a recovery, the whistleblower is generally able to share in a portion of the recovery.  Here, Relator Krystal Jeffries will recover more than $68,000 of the settlement amount, plus additional attorney fees of $18,660 recovered by the Northwest Justice Project. 

A video statement from U.S. Attorney Waldref can be viewed here. 

Assistant United States Attorneys Jake Brooks and Dan Fruchter prosecuted this case on behalf of the United States.  The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Spokane Resident Office. 




Attached Media Files: 2024-06/6857/173012/U.S.Krystal_Jeffries_v_All_Star_Property_Mangement_LLC_222-cv-00067-MKD_Signed_Settlement_Agreement.pdf

Toppenish Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Violent Armed Robbery
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 06/12/24 4:37 PM

Yakima, Washington - Chief United States District Judge Stanley A. Bastian sentenced Eduardo Valencia, age 42, of Toppenish, Washington, to 162 months in federal prison on charges of Robbery Affecting Commerce and Using, Carrying, or Brandishing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence. Valencia was convicted of those crimes on March 6, 2024, following a jury trial. Chief District Judge Bastian also imposed 5 years of federal supervision after Valencia is released from prison.

According to court documents and information disclosed at trial and sentencing, on November 18, 2020, Valencia and an accomplice walked into the La Milpa Market in Yakima, Washington. Valencia and the accomplice pulled out firearms and demanded money from the clerk, whom they threatened to kill. Valencia and the accomplice then ran behind the counter, fought with the clerk, and ultimately pistol-whipped the clerk.  Valencia and the accomplice ran out of the store with approximately $10,000. Both men were masked during the robbery, and Valencia was later identified through, among other things, DNA on a glove that he dropped during the fight with the clerk.

“All people in Eastern Washington deserve to be safe at work. Mr. Valencia’s violent robbery and assault on a store clerk caused lasting trauma that will continue even after this case concludes,” stated United States Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref. “My office is committed to safeguarding our neighborhoods and communities by aggressively prosecuting those who resort to violence.” 

“Mr. Valencia’s actions clearly warranted this sentence,” said ATF Seattle Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Blais. “Using a firearm in the commission of an already violent crime only further increases the danger to those involved, and to the public in general.”

This case was investigated by the ATF and Yakima Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tom Hanlon. 


White Swan Woman Pleads Guilty to Murder on the Yakama Nation
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 06/12/24 9:19 AM

Yakima, Washington - Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced today that Tahsheena Stacy Sam, 35, of White Swan, Washington, pleaded guilty to Second Degree Murder in Indian Country for the murder of Destiny Lloyd, who was an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation. United States District Judge Mary K. Dimke accepted Sam’s guilty plea and scheduled a sentencing hearing for September 17, 2024, in Yakima, Washington.

In the plea agreement accepted by the court, and in information disclosed during court proceedings, on December 25, 2017, the victim, Destiny Lloyd, who was 23 years old at the time, was socializing with a group of friends. The Defendant, whom Lloyd did not know, also joined the group.  

Later that evening, Sam, and others who were with her, decided to rob Ms. Lloyd. The group drove to an area near Harrah Road and Marion Drain Road on the Yakama Nation Indian Reservation.  There, money was forcibly taken from Lloyd, and Lloyd was then left on the side of the road.

After the assault, members of the group became concerned that Lloyd might report the incident. They then drove back to where they left her and used a flashlight to follow her tracks in the snow. Sam found Lloyd. She then obtained a large wrench from another member of the group and used the wrench to strike Lloyd several times on the head. Sam and the others left Lloyd’s body where it was discovered by a passing motorist a few days later. 

“My heart breaks for the victim and her family. Ms. Lloyd’s loss leaves a hole that cannot ever be filled,” stated U.S. Attorney Waldref. “This case involved a lengthy investigation and witnesses that were not always forthcoming with law enforcement.  Yet, the FBI and Yakama Nation Tribal Police remained undeterred and continued investigating this case – following available leads, which ultimately led to Ms. Sam.  While federal law enforcement often is unable to disclose to the public each step in an investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s office, FBI, and Yakama Nation have remained committed to securing justice for victims of violent crime, including for Ms. Lloyd and her family. We work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to pursue those who cause harm in our community and to address the root causes leading to the crisis of murdered or missing Indigenous people.” 

“It is hard to comprehend the wanton violence of this case,” said Kelly M. Smith, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Seattle field office. “I am grateful that Ms. Sam has now taken responsibility for her role in Ms. Lloyd’s tragic death. Now the process of healing can begin for the loved ones of the victim. The FBI will continue working to ensure the safety of our state’s reservations.”

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Yakama Nation Tribal Police. It has been prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Todd Swensen, Timothy J. Ohms, and Ian Garriques.

Charges remain pending for a co-defendant in this case. Those charges are merely allegations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Sureno Gang Member Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison for Murder on Yakama Nation Indian Reservation
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 06/11/24 2:09 PM

Yakima, Washington - Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced today that Jaime Herrera, age 29, of Granger, Washington, was sentenced after pleading guilty to one count of Second-Degree Murder in Indian Country and one count of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Indian Country. United States District Judge Mary K. Dimke imposed a sentence of 360-month imprisonment to be followed by 5 years of supervised release. Judge Dimke imposed the 360-month sentence to run consecutively to a 240-month sentence for another murder Herrera committed in Yakima County. Herrera will serve a total of 600 months – or 50 years – in prison.

According to court documents and information presented at the sentencing hearing, on July 19, 2017, around 3:15 a.m., Herrera, who is a Sureno gang member and not affiliated with the Yakama Nation, was driving his SUV and pulled up alongside two men walking on the road between Garfield Elementary School and Garfield Park, in Toppenish, Washington, within the external boundaries of the Yakama Nation Indian Reservation. Herrera accused the pair of being traitors to the gang, pulled out a rifle and killed one of the men – an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation. The second man – who survived the shooting – is an enrolled member of the Nez Perce Tribe. 

While the investigation into the murder was ongoing, Herrera committed a second, unrelated homicide in the Yakima Valley – arranging an ambush and ultimately shooting the victim. Herrera was arrested shortly after the second murder, pleaded guilty in Washington State Court, and was sentenced to 240 months imprisonment in that case. 

“The victim in this case was a son, a brother, and a new father – his daughter, a toddler at the time of his death, is growing up without a father because of Mr. Herrera’s senseless act of violence. While even the lengthy sentence in this case cannot substitute for the tragic loss of life, today’s sentence demonstrates that those who victimize members of our community – and in particular persons who enter Tribal communities to commit violence– will be held accountable,” stated U.S. Attorney Waldref. “As a result of today’s sentence, the Eastern District of Washington is safer and more secure. I am grateful for the dedication of the FBI and the Yakama Nation who worked closely with prosecutors in my office to hold a double murderer accountable for his actions.” 

“Senseless is the only word to describe this crime.” said Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office. “The violence Mr. Herrera displayed in this case, and subsequently in a separate case, indicates prison is where he belongs. I applaud the work of our investigators and partners who work so hard to make our state’s reservations safe for the people who live on them.”

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results. For more information about Project Safe Neighborhoods, please visit Justice.gov/PSN.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Yakama Nation Tribal Police. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Earl Hicks and Michael Ellis. 


Yakima Man Sentenced to 16 Years in Federal Prison on Drug Trafficking Charges
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 06/11/24 1:33 PM

Yakima, Washington - Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced today that Jacob Rodney Penny, age 44, of Yakima, Washington, was sentenced after pleading guilty to one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute 400 Grams or More of a Mixture or Substance Containing a Detectable Amount of Fentanyl and one count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm. United States District Judge Mary K. Dimke imposed a sentence of 192 months imprisonment to be followed by 5 years of supervised release.

According to court documents and information presented at the sentencing hearing, on May 13, 2022, the victim of a residential burglary saw a Craigslist Ad for ski equipment that matched items that had been stolen. Law enforcement contacted the seller and asked to purchase the skis. After agreeing to price, the seller said his friend would deliver the skis to the Wolf Den in Wapato, Washington and would be driving a newer white Chevy Tahoe. At the arranged time, Penny arrived at the location, driving a white Tahoe. Law enforcement conducted a traffic stop and detained Penny, who told investigators he knew he was being detained because of the “stupid skis.” Penny also stated he was making the delivery because the skis did not fit in his friend’s vehicle. 

Law enforcement executed a search warrant on the Tahoe, locating four large bags that contained hundreds of fentanyl pills, two smaller bags containing between 100 and 200 fentanyl pills each, a small quantity of methamphetamine, a scale with drug residue, two 9mm pistols, and $2,600 in cash. 

“I am grateful for the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office for their tremendous investigation in this case.  What began as an investigation into a set of stolen skis, led to the discovery of deadly fentanyl, which could have claimed the lives of those, who call the Yakima Valley home,” stated U.S. Attorney Waldref. “My office, working with our law enforcement partners, are committed to stopping the spread of illicit narcotics in Eastern Washington. By working together, we can make our communities safer and stronger for everyone.” 

“Sometimes an unexpected break leads to success,” said Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office. “In this case, a property crime led to sending a drug trafficker to federal prison. The FBI and our partners will continue working to keep these dangerous drugs off the streets and out of our communities.”

This case was investigated by the FBI. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Hanlon. 


U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Washington Commemorates LGBTQ+ Pride Month
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 06/10/24 1:28 PM

Spokane, Washington - For the month of June, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington (EDWA) will honor the vast contributions and important history of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer community during LGBTQ+ Pride Month.

The first presidential proclamation recognizing Pride Month occurred in 1999. On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 13988, directing the heads of every federal agency to take steps to prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, both in the federal government itself and in its enforcement of anti-discrimination laws such as Title VII.

“The enforcement and defense of civil rights for everyone is at the core of the Justice Department’s mission. My office is committed to protecting the rights of all individuals to live free from discrimination and persecution based on who they are or whom they love,” stated U.S. Attorney Waldref. “The members of the LGBTQ+ community are our families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. We recognize their past struggles to receive equal treatment under the law and will support and defend their efforts to secure justice now and in the future.

In 1969, after a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York City, members of the LGBTQ+ community engaged in several days of protest of discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. The following year, activists organized the first annual Pride March on June 28, 1970, a several-thousand-person march from the Stonewall Inn to Central Park commemorating the riots and protesting discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. Although not the first demonstration against LGBTQ+ discrimination, that Pride March marked the beginning of the galvanizing force that became a national civil rights movement to demand equal rights and protections for LGBTQ+ citizens under the law, ultimately culminating in the creation of the first gay pride parades in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco. Since 1970, the LGBTQ+ community has celebrated every June as Pride Month and held annual Pride Marches in a growing number of cities, including internationally.

On June 8, 2024, Members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington joined with hundreds of others by marching in the Spokane Pride Parade. U.S. Attorney Waldref added, “This was the first time my office joined to march in the Spokane Pride Parade. It is an honor to lead an office committed to enforcing civil rights and ensuring liberty and justice for all.”