Police have arrested 18 alleged drug dealers over the past three weeks and are hunting for 13 more suspects in a major Clark County drug bust called “Operation Spring Cleaning.”
The Clark-Vancouver Regional Drug Task Force issued a news release Friday, announcing the results of its lengthy investigation, which began last fall. The arrests were the result of undercover officers’ meeting with dealers in parking lots of fast-food restaurants, shopping centers and some residential homes, said task force Cmdr. Mike Cooke.
The drug bust targeted loosely connected street-level dealers in Clark County.
“We found in this investigation that many of the drug dealers, while not necessarily working together, knew each other and had been in the drug-dealing business for quite some time,” Cooke said in the news release. “Some of the dealers bragged that they were a one-stop shopping source for any drug we wanted to buy.”
The drug deals involved a number of substances, but predominantly heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine or prescription drugs. A smaller number of cases involved marijuana, Cooke said.
The locations of the drug deals were mainly northwest Vancouver, including the Hazel Dell area, as well as the Fourth Plain Boulevard corridor and parts of the Orchards area.
One purchase included more than 100 Oxycontin pills. The largest deal involved 1.25 pounds of cocaine that was seized in a deal at the Hazel Dell Fred Meyer parking lot on a busy Saturday afternoon, Cooke said.
A few of the homes where the drugs came from included 6312 N.E. Hazel Dell, 10021 N.E. 39th Ave., 8911 N.E. 90th Ave., and 3110 Bridge St. Cooke wouldn’t identify other residences involved in the bust, citing the active investigation.
“These are the types of transactions cause nuisance in neighborhoods,” he said. “I think the impact will be felt in the immediate vicinity where they are occurring.”
Unlike last October’s “Operation Gang Green,” which netted the arrests of 49 marijuana dealers in one day, “Operation Spring Cleaning” was a continual bust that began in late May and is still occurring, as the case remains active.
And unlike “Operation Gang Green,” this operation was performed predominantly through undercover drug transactions, as opposed to search warrants of dozens of homes, authorities said.
The 18 suspects who have been arrested are: Melissa Fielding, 20, of Vancouver; Sherry Jara, 48, of Vancouver; Sarah Harris, 25, of Vancouver; Mary Eibl, 50, of Vancouver; Derwin Robinson, 36, of Portland; Gerrie Sellers, 50, of Vancouver; Shawn Gehring, 35, of Vancouver; Keith McKibban, 51, of Vancouver; Brent Byers, 31, of Vancouver; Kelly Buss, 50, of Vancouver; Jamie Coolidge, 41, of Vancouver; Demetrius Rasberry, 37, of Vancouver; Lenny Bogard, 36, of Vancouver; Eric Fredericks, 35, of Vancouver; Tami Stein, 50, of Clackamas, Ore.; Alvaro Parra Campos, 42, of Portland; Matthew Deen, 22, of Clackamas, Ore.; and Alexandria Quinn, 25, of Vancouver.
The 13 suspects still being sought by investigators are: Becky Kassner, 28, of Vancouver; Joshua Galipeau, 38, of Vancouver; Charles Dickens, 43, of Vancouver; Robert Audette, 44, of Vancouver; Bryan Eastham, 40, of Vancouver; Scott Eastham, 40, of Vancouver; Nicolas Bates, 43, of Vancouver; Phillip Latimer, 31, of Vancouver; Lavonna Fast, 34, of Vancouver; Nick Nukala, 25, of Vancouver; Dylan Digiulio, 36, of Vancouver; Thomas Price, 34, of Vancouver; and Patrick Kelly, 57, of Vancouver.
Anyone with information on these suspects should call the drug task force tip line at 360-397-6017.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Tonya Rulli said most of the cases will be tried separately; a few cases have co-defendants who were arrested together.
Many of the suspects have already made first appearances in Clark County Superior Court. Most suspects were arrested on suspicion of delivery of a controlled substance.