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Eight locals arrested: Joint investigations with city, federal, state agencies land Moses Lake residents in jail

by R. HANS MILLER
Managing Editor | January 25, 2024 5:46 PM

MOSES LAKE — According to the office of U.S. Attorney Vanessa Waldref, based in Spokane, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, Moses Lake Police Department, Border Patrol and the Washington Department of Corrections have arrested eight people in the Moses Lake area. Those arrested are facing charges related to narcotics and illegal firearms.

“During the arrests in these cases, illegal drugs and a large number of firearms were taken off our streets, demonstrating the significant impact that is felt when federal, state and local law enforcement work together,” said Waldref.

Solomon Valle-Chavarria, Pedro Valle-Chavarria, Jose Mauricio Rodriguez-Sanchez and Paulino Portillo-Orozco were all arrested on a seven-count indictment associated with alleged methamphetamine distribution, a statement from Waldref’s office said. Charges include those associated with dealing drugs and firearm possession. It is believed one of the weapons found was used in a murder that occurred in November of last year in Montlake Park. 

In that incident, authorities reported that MLPD officers responded to a report of shots fired just before 3 p.m. in the 400 block of West Linden Street near Montlake Park. When they arrived, officers found three people with apparent gunshot wounds in and around a small Honda automobile. One of the victims was pronounced dead at the scene and the other two were hospitalized. A silver Nissan Murano was identified as a vehicle involved in the scene and was located and recovered a short time later using Moses Lake’s automated license plate reader camera system. The Washington State Patrol aided in the investigation of the incident. It is unclear if evidence found in or on the vehicle led directly to any arrests.

Troy S. McLanahan was also arrested after his residence was searched under a warrant Tuesday in relation to the suspected distribution of drugs out of the residence. During the execution of the warrant, ATF and MLPD recovered about 35 guns, including assault rifles, short-barreled shotguns, short-barreled rifles and high-capacity shotgun banana clips, three silencers and more than a pound of methamphetamine, the statement said. 

Rebecca A. Jimenez was arrested for her reported role in an incident Jan. 21 of 2022 wherein a vehicle was set ablaze in the parking lot of a Moses Lake Motel 6 over an alleged drug debt. Her two co-defendants, Tyler Wallo and David Maybee, are already in state prison serving sentences for unrelated convictions and will appear in federal court on charges related to this case. 

Cameron Ross was arrested for the alleged distribution, attempted distribution and distribution of a large quantity of fentanyl pills in the Moses Lake area, the U.S. Attorney’s statement said.

Multiple law enforcement agencies in the Columbia Basin have reported problems with fentanyl in their jurisdictions over the last few years. Fentanyl is a very dangerous drug that, in the form commonly sold illegally, is unregulated and can cause a form of suffocation because the body’s organs slow down excessively. This can lead to death if not treated with proper medications such as Narcan immediately.

Nicholas E. Essex was arrested and charged with distribution of methamphetamine in the Moses Lake area. Authorities report that he was on pretrial release for state charges for Possession of Depictions of Minors Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct. 

These defendants will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Caitlin Baunsgard, the statement said, and are part of cooperative efforts between local, regional and federal law enforcement agencies. 

“We will continue our collaborative, focused efforts to combat violent crime issues and make our communities safer and stronger,” Waldref said in the statement.


Case Numbers: 

The case numbers for each defendant are noted below. Cases are being tried in federal court.

Solomon Valle-Chavarria, Pedro Valley-Chavarria, Jose Mauricio Rodriguez-Sanchez and Paulino Portillo-Orozco – 2:24-CR-13-SAB

Troy S. McLanahan – 2:24-mj-39-JAG

Rebecca A. Jimenez – 2:24-CR-4-TOR

Cameron Ross – 2:24-CR-3-TOR

Nicholas E. Essex – 2:24-CR-12-MKD