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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Bonner County Sheriff's Office

Jury clears deputy of excessive force

A North Idaho jury has cleared a Bonner County Sheriff’s deputy against allegations that he used excessive force during a DUI arrest following a crash with injuries on the road to Schweitzer Mountain Resort.

 The jury on Friday determined that Deputy Clint Mattingley did not use excessive force during the DUI arrest of Joel W. Petty on March 8, 2008. Mattingley was successfully defended by attorney Peter Erbland of Spokane. Petty was represented by attorney Greg Devlin, also of Spokane.

 At issue was Mattingley’s handcuffing of Petty after the deputy responded to an injury accident. According to court records, Petty had an ordor of alcohol and failed a field sobriety test. Petty alleged Mattingley used excessive force and caused a rotator cuff injury when the deputy handcuffed him. But the jury did not agree.

Trio charged in Bonner County homicide

A Bonner County man on Monday was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of a 19-year man who was reported missing in September and found recently buried in a shallow grave, the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office reported.

   Austin Blake Thrasher, 19, (left) is accused of killing Michael Wyatt Smith, (right) the sheriff’s office said.  

Thrasher’s wife, Jennifer Dunnagan Thrasher, 22, (bottom left) and Christopher Garlin, 19, (bottom right) each face a charge of accessory to murder.

Smith was reported missing Sept. 15 from a residence on the Hope Peninsula and was last seen walking on Penninsula Road in Hope on Sept. 13, the office reported.

Detectives received a tip early last month that a 19-year-old was picked up near Hope “on the pretense of attending a party,” the news release said.

Detectives were told that the teen was instead driven to a woods, shot twice and moved to an unknown location and buried.

Detectives found Smith’s body in a shallow grave on private property off of Wellington Road, north of Hope, the news release said.

The defendants already were in the Bonner County Jail when they became suspects in Smith’s murder.

Last month they were arrested in connection with the burglary of Pawn Now in Ponderay.

Crumps and Blood nabbed in meth bust

Six children were taken into protective custody in Bonner County today as detectives arrested three people for manufacturing methamphetamine.

Priest River residents Leuis Mark Blood, 44; Brandon N. Crump, 33; and Shauna L. Crump, 32, also face charges of injury to a child, according to the Bonner County Sheriff's Office. The suspects are pictured clockwise, left to right.

They were arrested today after investigators searched two homes at 352 and 358 Bandy Road in southern Bonner County, east of Hoodoo Lake and Spirit Lake Cutoff Road.

 The children are in the care of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

Cops: Hitchhikers attacked woman, 66

Two 17-year-old hitchhikers attacked a 66-year-old North Idaho woman who stopped to help them last weekend in Bonner County, authorities say.

Suspects Joseph J. Martin, of Denver, (left) and Marshall O. Dittrich, (bottom right) of Danville, Calif., had run away from a youth explorations program in Trout Creek, Mont. and were hitchhiking near Clark Fork on Sunday when Vera Gadman, of Hope, picked them up and drove them to the Hope Peninsula area to look for a place to camp, according to the Bonner County Sheriff's Office.

The teens asked her to stop at an undeveloped cul-de-sac and pretended to look at a map, authorities said, then attacked Gadman, striking her on the head several times and attempting to strangle her.

Gadman escaped in her car and went to a nearby home, where emergency crews responded and took her to Bonner General Hospital. 

The Bonner County Sheriff's Office notified residents of the attack, and Dittrich and Martin were arrested about 8:30 a.m. on Monday.

They were booked into the Bonner County Jail and charged as adults with aggravated battery with intent to commit robbery.

The sheriff's office said the incident is a reminder “not to pick up hitchhikers no matter how needy or innocent they may appear,” according to a news release.

Biker cites gender disorder at sentencing

A Sandpoint biker awaiting trial on charges of recruiting criminal gang members was drawn to crime because of a rare gender disorder that causes him to be self conscious about his masculinity, his lawyer says.

Dale Michael Champine, 42, (right) suffers from epilepsy, bi-polar disorder, depression and an extra sex chromosome from hypogonadism and Klinefelter's Syndrome, which causes him to develop female phsyical attributes “and associated psychological challenges,” according to documents prepared by Missoula lawyer Johnna Baffa, who represented him on a federal conspiracy charge.

 Champine was sentenced in Missoula last Thursday to five years of probation and six months of home arrest for a federal conspiracy charge involving the transportation of a motorcycle across state lines. Baffa cited his disorder as a reason to keep him out of a federal prison, where she said he faced significant risk because of his abnormal physical characteristics.

“…Even when treated, he continues to display the physical symptoms of hypogonadism which place him at a significant risk of harm if incarcerated,” Baffa wrote.

Champine was born with the syndrome but not diagnosed until his late 30s. Even as he began establishing a masculine identity, Champine's “physical development betrayed him,” Baffa wrote. He found acceptance in the Hermanos motorcycle gang.

 “As his mother points out in her letter, it may have been that he sought acceptance by this group not only for camaraderies, but as a way to be perceived as more masculine, all while struggling with a medical condition that forced his body to develop a more femine appearance,” Baffa wrote.

“In his constant search for acceptance by himself and others, Mr. Champine has 'acted out' in ways that have often resulted in criminal conduct. As his mother acknowledges, he is constantly seeking to be viewed and accepted as a more masculine person, leading him to act in ways that he perceives as 'masculine' or 'tough,'” Baffa continued. “Unfortunately, such behavior had landed him in the midst of the crminal justice system.”

Champine is scheduled to stand trial next month in Bonner County District Court on a felony charge of recruiting criminal gang members. He and other Hermanos members were arrested last fall as part of a long-term investigation by the Bonner County Sheriff's Office. The Hermanos group is a chapter of the international Bandidos outlaw biker gang.

Also charged is Hermanos member Steven Jay Beal (left), who is awaiting sentencing in U.S. District Court in Montana for the stolen motorcycle case.

Hermanos associate Paul Leslie Spencer, 57, (right) was convicted last week of conspiracy in relation to the stolen bike. Bonner County detectives bought the stolen bike's motor form Spencer last August. Beal told them it was stolen and suggested burying the cases with identification numbers on his property, according to court documents.

Spencer faces up to five years in prison. The men, who were indicted in January, are to pay a combined restitution of $6,695 to cover the cost of the stolen motorcycle.

Oldtown chop shop has Spokane ties

A suspected chop shop under investigation in Bonner County caught the attention of Spokane County authorities last winter when they heard a car thief used the property to dispose of a vehicle.

Washington State Patrol investigators were helping U.S. Marshals look for a felon at Mr. D's Auto Repair and Salvage Yard on Highway 41 near Oldtown Jan. 5 when they were told that Tracey Oblenness, 45, brought her car to the wrecking yard to have it destroyed because she had switched the car's indication to a stolen car of the same make and model, according to court documents. 

Detectives were told that vehicles were often crushed or burned on the property as a means of disposal.

A resident of the chop shop is identified in a search warrant field in January as Daryl Hollingsworth - a key defense witness in Edgar Steele's murder-for-hire trial . Hollingsworth (left) told investigators he once observed a vehicle being crushed and once saw a nice Acura set on fire.

Wayne Clinton told a Spokane County sheriff's deputy that he towed Oblenness's Acura to the property so it could be destroyed and Oblenness could use its identification for a stolen Acura, according to court documents.

Oblenness has not been charged in relation to a stolen vehicle but pleaded guilty last month to a gross misdemeanor drug charge in Spokane County Superior Court and was given two years probation.

The suspected car theft operation remained in tact until last week, when Bonner County detectives saw a stolen vehicle while looking for fugitives. They executed a search warrant and found several stolen vehicles.

Property owner Dennis Hiebert, 51, was arrested for possession of stolen property. The investigation is ongoing.

Suspected chop shop raided in Idaho

Bonner County investigators search Mr. D's Auto Repair and Salvage Yard on Highway 41, just south of Oldtown, as part of an ongoing car theft and stolen property investigation.
 
Investigators looking for fugitives uncovered what they suspect to be a large stolen vehicle operation near Oldtown, Idaho, last week.

Most of the cars located at Mr. D's Auto Repair and Salvage Yard on Highway 41, just south of Oldtown in Bonner County, appear to have been stolen from Washington state, said Sgt. Marty Ryan of the Bonner County Sheriff's Office.

“We are just still knee-deep in this investigation,” Ryan said.

Detectives arrived at the property June 22 trying to serve two felony arrest warrants. Instead, they found a vehicle with a punched ignition that had been reported stolen in Stevens County. Detectives obtained a search warrant and spent two days seizing evidence from the property. They checked records for 294 vehicles, many with missing or altered VIN plates.

People continued to show up at the property during the search and on some occasions tried to slip past the law enforcement perimeter. Two were arrested on felony warrants and another was arrested for possession of methamphetamine.

Property owner Dennis Hiebert, 51, was arrested for possession of stolen property. Investigators confirmed five of the vehicles at the business were stolen, including a large motor home, which had its cabinetry stripped and hung in Hiebert's kitchen.

Investigators also found a small amount of meth and large quantities of drug paraphernalia.

Long-term meth lab busted in Blanchard

A longstanding methamphetamine was dismantled and its operator arrested recently in Blanchard, Idaho.

Wilifred J. Dechenne, 38, was “taken through a decontamination process” before being booked into the Bonner County Jail on charges of manufacturing and possession of methamphetamine.

A team from the Bonner County Sheriff's Office arrested Dechenne while executing a search warrant Thursday at noon in Blanchard.

A hazardous materials team and the Spirit Lake Fire Department assisted.

Detectives processed the scene for five hours “safely removing hazardous materials and taking evidence samples,” according to a news release.

King County assailant wanted in Idaho

A man on probation for assault in King County is wanted by Idaho authorities after failing to check in with the state Department of Corrections.

Grant “Bear” Timothy Larson, 31, may be traveling to Canada with Marie Thompson, 25, and their four-month-old baby, according to the Bonner County Sheriff's Office.

Larson was convicted of third-degree assault in King County in December and allowed to move to Idaho, but he didn't check in with authorities as required.

Now he's wanted for escape from community custody. He's also wanted on assault and battery charges from 2008.

Investigators believe Larson and Thompson are driving a white 1997 Toyota Rav 4, Idaho license plate, 7B7802, that belongs to Thompson's mother.

Larson, 5-foot-7 and 210 pounds, has numerous tattoos, including “savage” and “oso tight” on his neck.

Anyone with information is based to contact the North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force at (208) 666-5747 or the Bonner County Dispatch at (208) 265-5525.

Sandpoint bikers indicted in Montana

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Three men arrested during a raid on the Hermanos biker gang in Sandpoint last fall have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Montana.

Hermanos road captain Steven Jay Beal (keft), member Dale Michael Champine (right), 41, and close associate Paul Leslie Spencer are charged with conspiracy to traffick in stolen property in a sealed indictment in U.S. District Court in Missoula, said Sgt. Marty Ryan with the Bonner County Sheriff's Office.

 Champine was arrested when he arrived at the Kootenai County courthouse last week for a hearing on an unrelated charge for allegedly damaging a psychiatric room at Kootenai Medical Center in 2008.

Beal was arrested at his work, Fantastic Sam's in Ponderay. 

Spencer (left) remains at large, Ryan said.

Champine and Beal are expected to appear in federal court in Montana shortly. The men already face drug and stolen property charges in Bonner County District Court. Champine and Beal also are charged with recruiting criminal gang members, a felony implemented in Idaho in 2006.

Ryan said he can't say if more federal indictments are expected.

“This has been a constantly evolving investigation,” Ryan said. 

The yearlong investigation, dubbed Operation New Hight, culminated last fall when more than 20 people, including five members of the biker gang, were charged in what Ryan describes as an ongoing criminal conspiracy involving the Hermanos motorcycle gang, a chapter of the international Bandidos outlaw biker gang.

Ryan said the Hermanos are “foot soldiers” for a larger operation.

About a month after the raids, a suspected Bandidos motorcycle gang member was arrested on Interstate 90 with a large bag of marijuana, according to a warrant used to search his 2006 Harley Davidson Ultra Glide motorcycle.

Matthew T. Lantz, of Rye, Colo., was released from jail on his own recognizance after appearing in Superior Court on a felony drug charge, but the charge has not been filed. Lantz, 42, was wearing a Bandido's motorcycle club sweatshirt when he was stopped for speeding at milepost 291 on Oct. 22 told a Washington State Patrol trooper that he “was an associate to the club,” according to the warrant.

Lantz's driver's license was suspended, and the trooper found a small bag of marijuana and a glass pipe with burnt pot inside.  While photographing evidence, the trooper heard Lantz say “I just picked up the load at the Kon Tiki at State Line Village and was taking it to…well, never mind,” according to the warrant.

Investigators say they found five ziplock bags weighing about 600 grams, or about 1.3 pounds.

It's unclear if Lantz is connected to the Sandpoint case, in which arrests included a restaurant owner and waitresses and Hermanos local president Bryan M. Lukezich,who is out of jail on bond awaiting an August trial.

Of the 26 indictments in Bonner County, 19 were for drug-related offenses.

Brenda Smith, wife of Hermanos sergeant at arms James Ray Smith, said Bonner County authorities are unfairly targeting them because they ride motorcycles.

“The only type of education they have on motorcycle gangs is what they saw on the History Channel,” Smith said.

She said investigators did not find drugs when they arrested her husband but seized clothing associated with the Hermanos.

“The drugs indictments have nothing to do with our club,” she said after her husband's arrest. “We are being profiled and this is wrong.”

20 lbs of pot seized in Bonner County

About 20 pounds of marijuana was seized from a home in Bonner County on Wednesday.

Marcus S. Starks, 42, and Laura D. Baker, 51, were trimming marijuana from a recently harvested grow near an elementary school when Bonner County Sheriff’s Office investigators contacted them at their home on Rapid Lightning Road, northeast of Sandpoint.

The home was full of bags and boxes of marijuana, as well as seven growing marijuana plants, Sgt. Marty Ryan said.

Starks had a large grow near Colburn Culver Road and the bridge over the Pack River, near Northside Elementary School, according to the Sheriff’s Office. 

Starks and Baker were booked into jail on charges of trafficking in marijuana and manufacturing/cultivating a controlled substance.

A portion of the marijuana is pictured above.

Biker gang arrested in Idaho drug probe

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A yearlong drug investigation in Bonner County has led to the arrests of members of a local motorcycle gang and could result in the seizure of a houseboat and closure of a restaurant near Sandpoint’s landmark Long Bridge. 

More than 20 people, including five members of the biker gang, face charges in what investigators describe as an unprecedented case that began with an undercover drug probe last fall and led to infiltration of the Hermanos motorcycle gang, a chapter of the international Bandidos outlaw biker gang.

Undercover detectives developed relationships with area drug dealers to build credibility with the bikers. They learned of extensive criminal activity involving the Bandidos.  Bonner County sheriff’s Sgt. Marty Ryan called the Hermanos the “foot soldiers” for a larger operation.

A grand jury began issuing indictments in August. Arrests began last week with a series of raids in the Sandpoint and Ponderay areas.

Bryan M. Lukezich, (pictured) president of the Hermanos local chapter, faces a felony charge of recruiting gang members.

Read the rest of my story here.

Accidental shooting kills vengeful beau

A Bonner County woman accidentally shot and killed her boyfriend as she tried to stop him from seeking revenge on her assailant, investigators said today. 

Lorraine K. Kenitzki, 45, is in jail on $10,000 bond for involuntary manslaughter after Erik Foust, 41, died of a gunshot wound Wednesday.

Foust had grabbed a gun and was trying to leave the couple’s motor home, parked north of Priest River, to find the man who assaulted Kenitzki in Pend Oreille County Sept. 28, said Lt. Doug Harris of the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office.

“She tried to sop him by taking the gun away,” Harris said. “As she was pulling way from him, it went off and he got shot in the chest.”

Harris described Kenitzki as remorseful. She was arrested the day of the shooting, which was reported about 2:30 a.m.

The couple’s motor home was parked outside the Green Owl Tavern, 4558 Peninsula Road, about five miles north of Priest River.

Kenitzki is from Clark Fork; Foust owned a home in Pend Oreille County where Kenitzki was reportedly assaulted Sept. 28 as Foust was out of town, Harris said. The Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Office is investigating that case.

Idaho lawyer jailed on sex abuse charges

A North Idaho attorney is being held without bail in San Diego following allegations he sexually abused a teen girl, including “dates” at Southern California hotels. 

David C. Jacquot, 52, also is under investigation in Bonner County for a suspicious fire that destroyed his rural home just days after the girl first told his family about the alleged abuse.

Fire officials reportedly found more than 40 firearms, including a grenade launcher, while searching the remains of the anti-tax attorney’s scorched home in March.

Authorities say the fire appears to be arson and question whether Jacquot targeted his family because of his adopted daughter’s allegations.

“Attempted murder charges are very difficult to prove,” Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall said this week. “But certainly the timing is being looked at.”

Jacquot, his wife, lawyer Ann Jacquot; and the couple’s son escaped the fire; the girl was not at the home.

A federal grand jury in San Diego indicted David Jacquot last month on federal child exploitation charges. He was ordered held without bail at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Southern California earlier this month. His lawyer, Michael Crowley, filed a notice of appeal Sept. 9. He did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Jacquot was indicted Aug. 13 on three counts of transportation of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity. Marshall said he considered charging Jacquot with sex crimes under Idaho state law, but the federal charges carry much longer prison sentences.

Jacquot faces a maximum federal prison sentence of 90 years, but his standard sentencing range is 12 to 15 years, according to court documents.

The charges come at the same time Jacquot is preparing for trial on federal accusations that he filed false tax returns in 2002 and 2003 while vice president and general counsel for Xelan, Inc., a financial management company.

Jacquot is licensed to practice law in Idaho but did most of his work in the San Diego area, Marshall said.

His now-defunct website described him as an aggressive “tax hero” who served nine years in the U.S. Army before retiring because of injuries suffered during the Gulf War. He graduated Oregon State University in 1984 and earned a law degree from Gonzaga Law School in 1989. He practiced law in Coeur d’Alene, according to his website, and also kept an office in San Diego.

Federal agents raided that office in 2007 while investigating accusations that Jacquot understated his earnings by more than $250,000. He was allowed to stay out of jail pending trial but was given strict release conditions - including that he not posses firearms.

He was jailed in Bonner County about a month after the fire ripped through his home at 2041 Bandy Road, about 15 miles northeast of Spirit Lake, just days after the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office learned of abuse allegations lodged against Jacquot by the teen girl.

In March 2010,the alleged victim told her high school counselor that David Jacquot had been sexually abusing her. Federal prosecutors say David Jacquot began raping the girl several years ago. He flew her from Spokane to San Diego three times in May and June 2006 “with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity with her,” according to court documents. Federal investigators say Jacquot stayed with the girl at hotels and rented sexually explicit movies.

Decades-old skeleton found in Priest Lake

While the Bonner County coroner examines skeletal remains recently brought up from the bottom of Priest Lake, researchers and historians hope that clothing and a boat found nearby will provide clues to the victim’s identity.

Authorities believe the remains, found near Eight Mile Island, are 50 to 100 years old.

Read the rest of Asia Hege’s story here.

Meth lab busted in Bonner County

Bonner County authorities raided a methamphetamine lab and arrested two men Thursday after a three-month investigation.

Louis Gillette, 52, (left) and Allan Krebs, (right) 64, were jailed on $100,000 bail after investigators found a meth lab at Krebs’ home at 4433 Colburn Culver Road, the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office announced today. Gillette also lives at the home, the sheriff’s office said.

A hazardous materials team disposed of the lab, which Sgt. Marty Ryan said “appeared to be in prep for starting another cook.” Krebs appears to be a longtime resident of the Sandpoint area.

Fourteen years ago, he was quoted in an article about a Winter Carnival that began with a swim in chilly Lake Pend Oreille.

“In Idaho, we will do anything for entertainment,” Krebs said at the time.

If you really want to read the 1996 article on the Winter Carnival in Sandpoint, click the link below.

Robbers tie up disabled woman

Two people seeking prescription drugs tied up a Bonner County woman in her home early today.

Cynthia White was asleep on her couch when the robbers entered, forced her into her wheelchair and tied her to it about 3:50 a.m. in the Cedar View Estates area south of Oldtown on Highway 41.

In a press release, sheriff’s Lt. Doug Harris said the robbers searched the house for prescription drugs and did not injure White, who has physical disabilities.

The robbers untied the woman before leaving. A K-9 from the U.S. Border Patrol joined deputies in an attempt to follow the robbers.

The trail led to a nearby road before it was lost. Harris said the robbers apparently left in a vehicle from there.

Anyone with information about the case should call Bonner County Sheriff’s investigators at (208) 263-8417, extension 3051, or the dispatch center at (208) 265-5525.

Career criminal dies in Bonner County Jail

A Bonner County Jail inmate who died last month suffered from an enlarged heart, an autopsy ruled.

Ward David Coble, 50, was found dead in his cell June 18.

The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled the death to be from dilated cardiomyopathy, the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office said today. That means his heart was weakened and enlarged and couldn’t pump blood properly

Toxicology reports showed no drugs in Coble’s system, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Coble, who was from Spokane but lived in Blanchard, was in jail on a charge of eluding police, according to court records.

Coble was also awaiting trial on a domestic violence charge and had a federal warrant in Eastern Washington for violating his probation on a weapons conviction in 1990. 

That conviction earned him a 15-year prison sentence because of seven past felony convictions, included armed robberies of grocery stores, according to a story you can read here.

He unsuccessfully appealed that sentence to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals and was released in 2005. Read the court ruling here.

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