SWAT serves search warrant at Vancouver apartment, 4 arrested

Suspect connected to larger heroin and methamphetamine trafficking investigation

By Patty Hastings, Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith and Andy Matarrese, Columbian Breaking News Reporter

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A suspect climbed a tree after breaking into a neighboring apartment through the building’s attic in an attempt to escape police as they tried to search a central Vancouver apartment Wednesday morning.

The Vancouver Police Department said officers with the Safe Streets Task Force went to Springfield Meadows Apartments, 4317 N.E. 66th Ave., to serve a search warrant at an apartment there.

As officers attempted to serve the warrant, the unit’s lone occupant, 23-year-old Fernando Magana, refused to leave the unit. He then broke into a neighboring apartment by going through the building’s attic space, police said.

Magana made his way onto the roof of the three-story apartment complex, then jumped to a nearby tree.

The regional SWAT responded to assist the task force, and police were present around the complex, near the Vancouver Mall, for several hours. Magana eventually climbed down with the help of a ladder truck from the Vancouver Fire Department, and was arrested.

The warrant was connected to a larger investigation into heroin and methamphetamine trafficking. On Tuesday, police arrested five people and seized drugs, weapons and about $13,300 in cash after searching two homes.

The police said investigators suspect the unit is associated with a gang-related attempted murder attempt from 2016, along with multiple weapons brandishing complaints from neighbors, and a recent robbery investigation, where a firearm factored into a marijuana and methamphetamine deal.

During a search of the apartment, investigators found about $4,000 in stolen tools, later found to belong to apartment complex staff. Detectives suspect residents in the searched apartment are responsible for a previous burglary of the complex maintenance staff storage unit, police said.

Officers also recovered a large duffel bag full of stolen mail, which police think is connected to a recent theft from 80 mailboxes at the apartment.

Police arrested four people in connection to the investigation:

  • Magana was arrested on suspicion of multiple counts of second-degree burglary, second-degree malicious mischief, second-degree theft, second-degree possession of stolen property, possession of methamphetamine, obstructing officers, resisting arrest and a warrant out of district court. The police said additional felony charges may be pending.
  • David S. Tovar, 19, for a felony warrant for unlawful possession of a firearm, cocaine possession and bail jumping. He was arrested on suspicion of two counts of possession of a controlled substance in connection to Wednesday’s investigation.
  • Timothy Richards, 29, for a felony warrant from the state Department of Corrections for escaping community custody. The police said additional felony charges may be pending.
  • Angelica M. Corrales, 30, for a misdemeanor warrant.

The department said additional arrests for fraud, forgery, methamphetamine possession, theft and possession of stolen property are expected, and the investigation was ongoing.