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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Piranhas, alligator seized on South Hill

Piranhas and a small alligator were seized from a South Hill apartment on Friday. (submitted photos)

Piranhas offered for trade on Craigslist led state fish and game agents to seize several of the exotic, human-eating fish from an apartment on Spokane’s lower South Hill.

 The rare find took another surprising twist when agents also found a small alligator in Christopher Ryan Harper’s apartment at 1206 W. 6th Ave. on Friday, as well as a suspected marijuana-selling operation, police say.

The alligator is being cared for at SpokAnimal, the piranhas were killed and taken as evidence, said Madonna Luers, spokeswoman for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. Luers said she couldn’t confirm the number of piranhas seized. Police said 20, but Harper said he only had six.

Read the rest of my story here.

Charges dropped against ex-detective

The case against former Spokane police Detective Jeff Harvey has essentially been dropped after a jury deadlocked Wednesday on an obstruction charge and the prosecutor said he won’t pursue a second trial.

 Verdicts require unanimous decisions and the jury split 5-to-1 in favor of acquittal. Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Brian O’Brien said the case is over.

“I won’t be pursuing it,” O’Brien said. Harvey “had to go through the full trial. We had our day in court on this charge.”

Read the reset of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Sept. 20: Obstruction trial for ex-police detective begins

July 16: Fired detective files $10 million claim

July 15: SPD detective fired for 'troubled history'

Feb. 10: SPD detective accused of obstruction

Fired detective’s criminal trial begins

The obstruction of justice trial began Monday against embattled former Spokane police detective Jeff Harvey.

Harvey was fired this year after being charged with a gross misdemeanor following a confrontation with a state Department of Fish and Wildlife police officer who responded on Jan. 22 to a report of boys shooting after hunting hours on private land north of Spokane. Harvey, who was off-duty at the time, is accused of hindering the investigation, which involved his sons.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

July 16: Fired detective files $10 million claim

July 15: SPD detective fired for 'troubled history'

Feb. 10: SPD detective accused of obstruction

SPD detective fired for ‘troubled history’

Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick fired Detective Jeff Harvey on Wednesday as a result of an alleged confrontation Harvey had with a state Fish and Wildlife officer and what his termination letter labeled a “troubled work history.”

The incident was “part of the pattern of behavior that (the department) had documented over the years with this particular employee,” said city spokeswoman Marlene Feist.

Harvey is the former vice president of the Spokane Police Guild.

Mayor Mary Verner said she “backs the chief’s decision.”

Havey’s termination letter was hand-delivered to his home, Feist said.

Read the rest of Jonathan Brunt's story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 10: SPD detective accused of obstruction

Police detective accused of obstruction

A Spokane police detective has been placed on administrative leave after he was charged with obstructing a Fish and Wildlife law enforcement officer.

Detective Jeff Harvey, 46, who is vice president of the Spokane Police Guild, was charged with the misdemeanor offense last week in connection with a January incident in which it’s alleged he “did willfully hinder, delay and obstruct” an investigation into illegal hunting.

Capt. Mike Whorton, of the Region 1 office of the state Fish and Wildlife Police, said he could not comment beyond what was in the report.

“This is one individual. It certainly doesn’t reflect on the professionalism of the Spokane Police Department,” he said. “They are working with us on the case.”

Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick said she placed Harvey on paid administrative leave at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“We will be thorough and complete in our investigation,” Kirkpatrick said. “He will remain on paid administrative leave for as long as it takes to do the internal investigation. The criminal matter needs to be handled independently of us.”

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Bear parts buy deemed lesser offense

In the case of one Spokane man, the bear parts do not make up the sum of a felony.

Appellate judges on Tuesday overturned the felony wildlife trafficking conviction of 52-year-old Jason M. Yon, after he paid $800 for four bear gallbladders in 2008 to undercover Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officers.

Yon’s attorney, Richard Lee, successfully argued that his client should not have been convicted of a felony because state law sets a dollar figure of $250 per purchase of parts from big game animals. Yon bought two gallbladders in September and another two in October 2008 for $200 each.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Son, dad charged in wildlife officer attack

A Grant County teen faces five felony charges, including attempted murder, after police saw he fired shots at a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife police captain Saturday.

Jose J. Garcia-Meraze (left) is charged with unlawful imprisonment for the incident at Crab Creek near Beverly after “he basically disarmed a Fish and Wildlife agent at gunpoint,” said John Turley, Grant County undersheriff.

The 18-year-old also is charged with second-degree assault, attempting to elude and alien in possession of a firearm, Turley said. His father, 60-year-old Nicolas Garcia-Godinez (right), is jailed on a second-degree assault charge for allegedly pulling a knife on another officer.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed holds on both men.

Garcia-Meraze, was fishing without a license at Crab Creek when he pulled a gun on an approaching officer and fled in a car, police reports said. The teen allegedly turn around and drove toward the officer’s marked police vehicle, firing shots and penetrating the driver’s side door with one round. An officer returned fire after the teen attempted to shoot at him a second time, police said.

Garcia-Meraze was arrested after his car stalled on state Route 28 near Ephrata, police said. Both men are in Grant County Jail.

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