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He’s accused of sexually assaulting an animal in Columbia Park. It’s one of 2 meth-related holiday busts.

UPDATED: Tue., Sept. 4, 2018

By Kristin M. Kraemer Tri-City Herald

Three people were arrested by Kennewick police on Labor Day for having methamphetamine, including a man allegedly caught in a compromising position with an injured beaver.

Richard M. Delp, Jordan D. Lewis and Megan L. Williams were picked up in two separate busts more than six hours apart.

Delp, 35, is accused of having sexual contact with the wild animal in Columbia Park.

The beaver was hit by a car sometime Monday night, and a woman who found it ran home for a box so she could transport the injured animal to a veterinarian, according to Sgt. Aaron Clem.

The woman reportedly returned to the Kennewick park to find a man lying next to the beaver.

She wondered if the man, later identified as Delp, was comforting the animal, said Clem. But then she realized he was partially clothed.

The animal may have still been alive at that point, but it was dead when officers arrived in the park.

Delp, who is listed as a transient, was booked into the Benton County jail at 12:50 a.m. Tuesday on suspicion of first-degree animal cruelty and meth possession, both felonies. He is being held without bail.

Earlier Monday, police took a report of a man and a woman using drugs while parked next to a fast-food restaurant on Clearwater Avenue.

A responding officer looked in the car and saw drugs and drug paraphernalia throughout, police said.

While the two were being arrested, Lewis tried to run away but was caught, a Facebook post said.

Clem told the Herald that while meth use cases have remained steady, the department has seen a big uptick in opioid use, overdoses and deaths in the last year and a half.

“We’ve seen a large increase in ‘mexis,’ or fentanyl pills, coming into town,” he said. “People are unfortunately getting a hold of those and they are overdosing on those.”

Clem said authorities are trying to get the word out about opioid use since Washington state alone had 740 overdose deaths in 2017.

Last Friday was International Overdose Awareness Day.

Lewis, 26, was booked into jail at 6:45 p.m. He has an investigative hold for felony possession of meth, and was charged Tuesday in Benton County District Court with resisting arrest and obstructing a law enforcement officer, both misdemeanors.

Williams, 20, had a warrant for failing to comply on an existing District Court case. She also was booked on suspicion of felony meth possession.

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