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Drug dealer mistakenly texts police

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) — Police say a drug dealer mistakenly sent messages to a California central coast police officer in an attempt to sell methamphetamine.

The Santa Maria officer notified Santa Barbara County sheriff's detectives about the errant text messages early Tuesday. The officer and detectives then set up a meeting with the alleged drug dealer.

Sheriff's spokesman Drew Sugars says they arrested 39-year-old Reymundo Carlos Escobedo and seized about 2 grams of methamphetamine.

A news release says 37-year-old John Martin Silvera, who is Escobedo's suspected methamphetamine supplier, also arrived and was arrested with about 7 grams of methamphetamine.

Escobedo and Silvera remain held on drug charges, including criminal conspiracy. Bail is set at $30,000 each.

Officer typed message just before crash

A Spokane police officer who hit and killed an intoxicated pedestrian in his patrol car in January was typing a message into his onboard computer just before the crash.

Officer Gordon Ennis (left) told investigators he sent the message to another officer just before he struck John A. Van Curler (right) at West Montgomery Avenue while southbound on North Monroe Street on Jan. 30.

That detail was released publicly for the first time in a report this month from Spokane police Ombudsman Tim Burns, who concluded that inattentive driving was a factor in the tragedy but agreed with prosecutors that no charges against Ennis were warranted.

Prosecutors were aware of the text message when evaluating the case.

Burns called the crash “just one of those regrettable situations.”

“This officer’s going to have to live with that the rest of his life as well, and that’s a hard thing to live with, I suspect,” Burns said.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage: Feb. 12: Vehicular homicide standards high

Child safety event focuses on ‘sexting’

The Spokane Police Department and Spokane County Sheriff's Office are co-hosting an event Wednesday to raise awareness about child safety.

The “Take 25” national campaign calls for parents, guardians and educators to take 25 minutes to talk to their children about safety.

Law enforcement officials will offer tips, conversations starters and safety-oriented activities Wednesday at the Spokane Valley Mall from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The emphasis will be on sexually explicit text messages, or sexting.

“51% of teen girls say pressure from a guy is a reason they send sexy messages or images; only 18% of teen boys cited pressure from female counterparts as a reason,” according to a police news release. “Law enforcement officials encourage parents to maintain communication with their children by staying calm, being supportive and learning as much as possible about the situation. Talking, sending or forwarding a sexual picture of someone underage, even if it’s you, it’s a crime. Teens have been removed from sports teams, faced humiliation and have been in trouble with the law.”

Take 25 was started by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in honor of National Missing Children's Day, which is Wednesday.

The campaign comes as Spokane police detectives are investigating several child pornography cases, including two that resulted in searches at two addresses last week.

A 22-year-old man was targeted in a search at 5202 S. Ferrall St., and a 17-year-old boy was targeted during a search at 2917 E. Hoffman. Neither suspect has been arrested, but detectives say they are confident charges will be filed for pornography on computers, camera and other digital devices seized during the searches.

The material will be forensically examined before charges are filed.

“Each photo depicting a minor engaged in sexually explicit behavior will add an additional charge,” Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said in a news release.

Charge: Pot suspect harassed cop via text

 The text messages to the Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy came after a raid at a suspected marijuana grow house. 

“(W)ee can either b friends or enemies,” the cryptic message began, urging police to drop their probe and alluding to dire consequences that could befall the detective’s family members if it continues: “don’t do this 2 ur kid…I’ve got a surprise for you…tic tock tic tock you aint even going to know when it’s coming.” 

Those and hundreds of other sexually explicit, profanity-laced messages filled Detective Jeff Shover’s cell phone in the weeks after he gave his number to a suspect who was vacationing in Hawaii when the grow operation was raided, and claimed she was in danger.

That suspect, 41-year-old Tina Blanchette, has been charged with intimidating a public servant and making harassing phone calls in a case that began as an otherwise routine marijuana probe but has now taken an unusual twist.

Police say the hundreds of text messages, phone calls and emailed images can be traced to her phone. But, Blanchette said in an interview, “You’re only seeing part of the conversation… It’s really humiliating because I’ve been depicted as something completely different.”

(Blanchette is pictured in court on Tuesday, thanks to KHQ.)

Read the rest of my story here.