Alert officer credited with drug arrest

A Hoquiam police officer is being credited with alertly recognizing a drug suspect with a lengthy record standing beside a car on Wednesday, leading to an arrest of the 32-year-old man and confiscation of brown tar heroin and several prescription pills.

Hoquiam Police Sgt. Jeremy Mitchell said he first observed the man at about 7:50 p.m. Wednesday near the black Honda Civic, which was registered to a Forks woman. In a report, Mitchell said he recognized the man as having recently been held in the Grays Harbor County Jail for unrelated drug charges.

Court records show the suspect has been convicted of numerous drug charges dating back to 1999, and was found guilty or pleaded guilty to drug charges in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2011. On March 8, he was arrested and booked into the Grays Harbor County Jail and charged with possession of cocaine.

Mitchell reported he ran a records check on the suspect and learned the man had an Aberdeen Municipal Court order for his arrest and that his driving status was suspended, but then the officer said he was dispatched to another call.

Less than an hour later, the officer said he spotted the Honda next to the Emerson Grocery Store on Emerson Street with its headlights on. When he pulled around to head back to the store, the man and the car were gone.

But the officer again found the car, this time with the man driving it, a few blocks away. Once the man was placed in custody in the patrol car, the officer noted he found a black backpack open in the passenger’s seat containing “numerous used hypodermic needles.” Also found was a soda can with a hole punched in it to use as a smoking device.

Police dog “Enno” then was brought in to sniff around the car, leading to “a positive response for an illegal narcotic,” the police report said.

The next day, Hoquiam police obtained a search warrant for the car and Sgt. Mitchell found a blue zippered bag partially under the seat with the heroin and four pills in zip-lock plastic bags. Also found were a black folding knife with a large amount of brown tar-like substance on it, a metal spoon with brown residue and several other empty plastic bags.

Police have impounded the car and the man was booked into the Aberdeen Jail, cited and released for driving with a suspended license and the existing warrants. The case then was forwarded to the Grays Harbor County Prosecutor’s Office for pending drug charges.

“One of our department focus points is to target drug dealers and locations,” said Hoquaim Police Chief Jeff Myers. “I commend Sgt. Mitchell and crew for yet another example of our efforts.”