Lights and Sirens
Police and fire news from around Covington, Maple Valley, and beyond
A Vancouver, Wash. man who once volunteered as a youth pastor was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 25 years in prison and lifetime supervised release for production of child pornography reported U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
Michael Scott Norris, 45, was arrested in 2006, after an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation (ICE-HSI) revealed Norris was participating in child pornography distribution websites. When law enforcement searched Norris’ residence they discovered movies and images of young children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Norris had made the images of two children. The children’s parents trusted Norris to spend time with their children, because he had been a youth pastor for a youth group at a Portland church. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Robert L. Bryan said, “the most important part of the sentence was to protect the public.”
Norris was charged for his criminal conduct both in federal court and in Clark County Superior Court. It is anticipated that Norris will plead guilty to child molestation charges in state court and be sentenced to 35 years in prison. The prosecution will recommend that the sentences run concurrently, and that Norris first serve time in federal prison. Norris has been in custody since his arrest in August 2006. Norris was indicted federally in January 2011, and pleaded guilty in August 2011.
In asking for a 35 year sentence, prosecutors wrote to the court, “Michael Scott Norris committed unimaginable crimes. For years, he molested and sexually abused a pair of siblings, a young girl and boy…. Norris was trying to inflict the maximum amount of psychological pain and damage on his helpless victims. His actions were calculated to destroy these children, to shatter them beyond repair.”
“Child predators are confidence men who maneuver themselves into positions of trust to perpetrate their heinous crimes,” said Brad Bench, acting special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. “In their wake they leave broken victims and damaged communities. HSI is committed to using every tool at its disposal to seek out and bring these criminals to justice.”
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation (ICE-HSI) and the Vancouver Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Dion.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The following is a King County Sheriff’s Office press release.
A 32 year old bail bondsman and a 42 year old Burien man were both shot when gunfire was exchanged early Wednesday morning in front of a Burien house. The incident occurred about 11:40 p.m. in the 12600 block of Occidental Avenue South.
The bail bondsman told police he had information that a woman with a warrant he was looking for was associated with the house. The bondsman said he had been watching the house when there was a confrontation which occurred outside between him and the residents of the house.
Witnesses said that someone in the house brought a shotgun outside and after a brief struggle over the shotgun shots were fired. The bondsman, who was wearing a bullet proof vest, was struck in the chest with birdshot. A resident of the house was struck in the leg by a bullet presumably fired by the bondsman.
The woman the bondsman was looking for was not in the house and police do not believe she is actually associated with the house.
“At this point we are still sorting out the details of what happened leading up to the shooting,” said Sergeant Cindi West, spokesperson for the King County
Office.” “We know that multiple rounds were fired by each side but detectives are still trying to piece together the specifics.”
The King County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit is handling the investigation.
According to a release from the King County Sheriff’s Office, about 3:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 4 an unidentified man allegedly entered an apartment in the 200 block of Whitman Avenue North in the city of Shoreline.
Once inside the suspect sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl.
The girl was asleep and awoke to the man in her room. The girl’s mother came home during the assault and the suspect fled on foot.
The suspect is described as a white male, 30’s, approximately 5 foot,10 inches tall with a medium build. He was last seen wearing a white and blue shirt with horizontal stripes and dark jeans.
If anyone has information about this crime call the King County Sheriff’s Office Special Assault Unit at 206-296-7557.
The Wells Fargo Bank on Richmond Beach Road in Shoreline was robbed at gun point on Monday at 12:25 p.m. The suspect approached the counter at the bank and asked the teller for “100’s, 20’s and 50’s” in a “low pitched” tone. When the teller hesitated he repeated the request and pulled a pistol from his backpack. The suspect fled on foot. He is described as a “scruffy” white male, 40-50 years old, unshaven, and was last seen wearing a dark beanie, dark windbreaker, jeans, and was carrying a tattered, dark colored backpack. Please contact the King County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center at 206- 296-3311 (24 hours) or 911 with any information.
Posted Oct. 24
The following is an update on this story from the King County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart.
The suspect who died as a result of a police shooting in Seattle on Sunday physically attacked one of the detectives, for whatever reason actually bypassing the second detective who was closer to him, and on the sidewalk.
The detective he fought with was in the street and about a car length or more away from the suspect’s original position.
While the suspect was not armed, at least one witness has told investigating Sheriff’s detectives that the man was trying to get at the police officer’s drawn handgun when he was shot.
Posted Oct. 23
The suspect in the stabbing death of an 84-year-old man on Saturday was shot and killed by a Seattle Police detective Sunday afternoon, Oct.23.
The man suspected in the stabbing is 48 and a convicted felon.
Due to the fact that Seattle homicide detectives were involved in the shooting, Seattle Police asked the King County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the incident. The
detective who fired the fatal shots is on paid administrative leave, which is standard in these situations.
Several teams of SPD detectives were in the downtown and Capital Hill areas looking for the man who had been using the credit card of the deceased man at
Two detectives happened to see the man shortly after 2:30 p.m. near 4th and Cedar. When the detectives tried to contact the man he immediately charged at the men
and was subsequently shot.
The injured man was taken to Harborview Medical Center where he died shortly after arrival.
Fingerprint technicians are comparing the prints of the dead man to suspect prints found at yesterday’s homicide scene to confirm the man’s involvement.
There will be no additional information released this evening.
David Devenny, 69, of Olympia, Wash., pleaded guilty today to unlawfully dealing in firearms and two counts of sale of a firearm to a prohibited person. Devenny was arrested last November after selling firearms to a convicted felon and a person with a domestic violence conviction. Devenny knew that both purchasers were prohibited from possessing firearms because of those convictions. Both the felon and the person with the domestic violence conviction were working with law enforcement at the time of the purchases in February and November 2010. At the time of his arrest, ATF agents recovered 42 guns and $32,000 in cash. As part of the plea agreement all the firearms and $12,850 in cash are being forfeited to the government. U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle will sentence Devenny on January 23, 2012.
Records filed in the case reveal that the Seattle Police notified Devenny that a gun previously owned by him was used to murder Officer Timothy Brenton on October 31, 2009. Devenny allegedly sold the gun at a gun show in Puyallup. Investigators believe the gun was sold one week before Brenton was killed.
“Illegal gun sales are a threat to our police and our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “We must stem the tide at every level, and hold this defendant responsible for his actions. His conduct hurt law enforcement’s ability to track the path of many guns, including the one used to kill Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton.”
“This is an example of zero tolerance that the citizens of the community and law enforcement have toward firearms trafficking,” said Kelvin Crenshaw, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Seattle.
Devenny came to the attention of law enforcement while officers reviewed gun sales activity at gun shows throughout the Western District of Washington. Federal law requires that gun sellers who make frequent and repetitive gun sales for profit become a Federal Firearms Licensed Dealer (FFL). When a Federal Firearms Licensed Dealer (FFL) sells a weapon, the seller is required to fill out certain forms and conduct a background check. These forms help law enforcement trace guns subsequently used in crimes. The forms are not filled out by private sellers.
Records indicate DEVENNY purchased 16 handguns from an FFL in just one five month period in 2009. The guns were then sold in private sales, with no further records or background checks. The investigation revealed DEVENNY had bought and then sold dozens of guns at various gun shows without keeping any records. While private collectors are allowed to sell guns from their personal collection without becoming a licensed dealer, these sales did not comport with the requirements for private collection sales.
Unlawfully Dealing in Firearms is punishable by up to five years in prison and Sale of a Firearm to a Prohibited Person is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Under the terms of the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend a sentence within the sentencing guidelines range.
The case was investigated by ATF. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Bruce Miyake and Nicholas Brown.
The following is a press release from the U.S. District Attorney Western division office.
MELINDA KAY JOHNSON, a former employee of the Washington State Department of Licensing was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 24 months in prison and two years of supervised release for the crime ofConspiracy to Commit Unlawful Production of Identification Documents. JOHNSON sold Washington State ID cards to various conspirators, who then engaged in a bank fraud scheme. JOHNSON sold the cards for as much as $3,000 each. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly noted that the offense involved a breach of the “public trust,” and that Johnson “helped to facilitate the fraud.”
According to records in the case and testimony at the trial of others charged in the case, between 2008 and 2010, various conspirators in a bank fraud scheme obtained Washington State Identification cards from JOHNSON in bogus names, and used the identities to open multiple bank accounts in Seattle and Bellevue, Washington and in Las Vegas, Nevada. After the balances in the accounts were inflated with fraudulent deposits using forged checks, co-conspirators quickly used the debit cards to purchase hundreds of thousands of dollars of cigarettes at Sam’s Club stores in California. The cigarettes were then taken to a store in Hollywood, California, where they were sold for cash at a discounted price. The Washington State ID cards were critical to the scheme and JOHNSON sold at least nine of the cards to various members of the conspiracy. Bank of America lost over $1 million in the scheme, and $200,000 of that loss was from accounts opened using the fake documents supplied by JOHNSON.
In their sentencing memo, prosecutors urged a significant prison sentence saying JOHNSON, a ten year DOL employee, broke the law each time she accepted a bribe. “Johnson grossly abused her position of public trust for her own personal gain. Her acts eroded public confidence in the integrity of all public officials, damaging the public’s expectation that public servants will faithfully perform their duties and not seek bribes or behave corruptly…. The cards she issued, especially those in false identities, could easily have been used for purposes even more sinister than opening bank accounts for fake businesses. Johnson did not merely look the other way or fail to ask questions; she greedily lined her pockets while knowingly breaching the public trust,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.
Members of the bank fraud ring who were convicted at trial are scheduled to be sentenced later this month.
The lead investigative agencies on the case are the U.S. Secret Service, the King County Sheriff’s Office – City of SeaTac Police, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). Assistance has also been provided by the Washington Department of Licensing, Special Investigations Division; and by the FBI.
The case was being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kate Vaughan and Michael Scoville.
The following is release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The Justice Department announced today that Cherry Valera, 44, and Bernard Salvatierra, 46, a married couple from Bellingham were sentenced by U.S. District Judge James L. Robart in connection with their May 10, 2011 guilty pleas.
Valera pleaded guilty to harboring an alien for financial gain and Salvatierra pleaded guilty to unlawful employment of an alien. Valera was sentenced to four months in prison and 100 hours of community service during two years of supervised release. Salvatierra was sentenced to 6 months of home detention with electronic monitoring. The couple paid the victim $57,000 in restitution at the time of their guilty pleas. They are barred from having any contact with the victim or her family.
According to court filings, Valera recruited an impoverished, young woman from the Philippines to be her family’s live-in domestic servant. Valera and Salvatierra employed the victim from August 2006 until September 2009, when she escaped. During her employment, the victim was required to work seven days a week, providing full-time childcare, cleaning, cooking and other domestic services. The victim endured verbal abuse and threats during her stay with the defendants, who paid the victim $200 to $240 per month.
“The defendants took advantage of a vulnerable young woman for their personal financial gain,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute those who engage in such conduct.”
“These defendants lured this victim with the promise to treat her like family, then exploited and controlled her. Such conduct cannot be tolerated,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and it was prosecuted jointly by Assistant United States Attorney Ye-Ting Woo and Trial Attorney Daniel Weiss of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.
The following is a release from the U.S. Department of Justice Western District of Washington U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Brothers captured on wiretap investigation discussing contract killings, cross-border smuggling
A grand jury indictment returned late Thursday in Seattle targets a Sinoloa, Mexico, drug trafficking organization smuggling heroin and methamphetamine into Arizona, and then transporting it for distribution as far east as Alabama and Ohio, and as far north as Western Washington. The investigation of the OLAIS ROCHA organization began in 2009, through the efforts of the South Snohomish County Narcotics Task Force (SSCNTF).
Between January and June 2011, DEA partnered with SSCNTF, on a court authorized wiretap of cell phones used by the ring providing insights into the flow of drugs and cash, and the violence that is part and parcel of the drug trade. When officers and agents moved in to make arrests in June 2011, law enforcement seized 8 lbs of crystal methamphetamine, 7 pounds of heroin, more than $174,000 in cash, 9 firearms and ten cars.
Fifteen of eighteen indicted have been arrested and will be arraigned on the superseding indictment next week:
ORLANDO OLAIS ROCHA, 31, Lynnwood, WA
EVERARDO OLAIS ROCHA, 27, Lynnwood, WA
HERIBERTO PEREZ RUIZ, 29, Puyallup, WA
ELENO SEPULVEDA ACOSTA, 25, Puyallup, WA
SANTOS SEGUNDO GERARDO, 21, Tuscaloosa, AL
MITZY PATINO LEON, 21, San Luis, AZ
JOSE MARTIN VILLA RIVERA, 31, Lynnwood, WA
JACQUELINE C. VILLA, 28, Lynnwood, WA
RAUL ALFARO MUNOZ, 35, Everett, WA
JULIO CESAR VILLAFANA, 32, Everett, WA
LUIS FERNANDO SOTO BAEZ, 24, Marysville, WA
EDGAR OMAR HERNANDEZ VALDEZ, 24, Marysville, WA
ERNESTO MILLAN VELDERRAIN, 48, Everett, WA
BRIAN BATTS, 48, Snohomish, WA
GEOFFREY WRIGHT, 42, Everett, WA
The court authorized wiretap recordings reveal details of the drug ring. Members smuggled drugs across the border from Mexico, to a stash house in Arizona. Drugs and cash were packed in special compartments of vehicles or in voids within the frame of the vehicle. Some loads were packed in the void beneath the bed of a pick-up truck. The drugs were then transported to the Seattle area, and elsewhere, for distribution. In conversations recorded on the court authorized wiretap, members of the conspiracy were heard discussing a contract killing of unknown persons in Mexico.
Thursday’s superseding indictment added two new federal firearms charges against two of the leading defendants. ORLANDO OLAIS ROCHA and EVERARDO OLAIS ROCHA were charged by the grand jury with two counts of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime. These charges involve six firearms, including an AK-47 assault rifle, which were seized from a duplex in Puyallup and an apartment in Lynnwood. These new firearms charges are in addition to three previously charged counts alleging conspiracy to import methamphetamine and heroin, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
If convicted on the drugs counts, the defendants face a mandatory term of imprisonment of at least ten years, and up to life imprisonment, a fine of up to $10 million, a term of supervised release following imprisonment of at least five years, and forfeiture of all drug proceeds and facilitating property. If ORLANDO and EVERARDO OLAIS ROCHA are convicted of the newly added firearms offenses, they will face an additional mandatory five-year sentence which must run consecutively to the sentencing imposed on the drug offenses.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved.
A paraglider died Sunday, Aug. 7, about 7 p.m. when the wing he was flying suddenly plummeted to the ground.
The incident occurred in the 12300 block of 202 Place SE. near Issaquah. Witnesses saw the paraglider gliding on what appeared to be a thermal current, and watched as he came toward them in a northeasterly direction.
Suddenly the wing of the paraglider started twisting and spinning out of control and then collapsed about
40 to 50 feet above the ground before crashing in a pasture.
Despite CPR efforts from witnesses and fire personnel, the man died at the scene.
The victim is a 53 year-old Renton man.