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Tuesday, June 6, 2023
June 6, 2023

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Third person facing murder allegation in death of Clark County Detective Jeremy Brown

Lani Kraabell is accused of trying to sell stolen firearms connected to undercover investigation

By , Columbian staff reporter, and
, Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

A Lewis County woman is being held on suspicion of second-degree murder after allegedly facilitating the sale of stolen firearms linked to an undercover investigation that led to the fatal shooting of Clark County sheriff’s Detective Jeremy Brown.

In addition to the murder allegation, Lani Rene Kraabell, 48, of Winlock appeared Monday morning in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of possession of a stolen firearm and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Judge Suzan Clark set over the hearing to today when Kraabell’s court-appointed attorney will be available. In the meantime, Kraabell is being held on $2 million bail.

Kraabell is described in court records as a friend of Misty Raya, who is accused of breaking into a Hazel Dell storage unit in early June and stealing a cache of about 30 firearms and 20,000 to 30,000 rounds of ammunition.

Police from several agencies were surveilling Raya, 35, her husband, Abran Raya Leon, 28, and brother-in-law Guillermo Raya Leon, 26, in connection with the stolen guns on July 23, court records say.

Investigators have said that Guillermo Raya Leon admitted to them he shot Brown, 46, once with a revolver while Brown was seated in an unmarked police SUV at an east Vancouver apartment complex that evening. Investigators and the prosecution say they believe the weapon used to shoot Brown is one of the stolen guns.

Guillermo Raya Leon entered not-guilty pleas to first-degree aggravated murder and possession of a stolen firearm last week. His trial is scheduled for April 18.

Abran Raya Leon, the alleged getaway driver in the fatal shooting, is facing second-degree murder, possession of a stolen firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm. He is scheduled to make a first appearance on the charges today. His wife, Raya, pleaded not guilty last month to burglary, identity theft and 32 counts of firearm theft. Her trial is scheduled for March 7.

On Monday, Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik called Kraabell the “linchpin to the trafficking” of the stolen firearms. He said that she continued to try to sell them after Brown was killed.

Golik also said Kraabell has criminal history dating back to 1991, which includes 29 prior warrants and felony convictions.

‘In trouble’

According to a probable cause affidavit, Kraabell allegedly told police Raya called her July 23 and said she was “in trouble” and that she’d been involved in a “high speed chase.”

Kraabell, driving a Toyota Sequoia SUV, picked up Raya, Abran Raya Leon and Guillermo Raya Leon from a Portland Target store. The three loaded what investigators described as long, heavy bags into the SUV. Kraabell then took the trio to The Pointe Apartments in east Vancouver, the affidavit says.

While en route to the apartment complex, Raya allegedly told Kraabell she had a large number of stolen firearms. Kraabell said Raya asked her for help in getting rid of some of the guns. Kraabell offered to contact people she thought they could sell the guns to, court records state.

Kraabell called one of her contacts, identified in court records as Stephen Harley Iverson, and he said he would call a man known as “Coop,” who could buy the stolen guns, the affidavit says. “Coop” is identified in court records as Charles Alfred Cooper Jr.

When Kraabell and the trio arrived at the apartment, Guillermo Raya Leon spotted a maroon-colored SUV with Brown in the driver’s seat, parked at the back of the complex. He approached the SUV to confront Brown about watching them, according to the affidavit.

According to the prosecution, the two exchanged gunfire, and Brown was struck in the chest.

Following the shooting, the trio drove away from the apartment complex.

Shortly after, Iverson arrived at the apartment. He found a number of rifles wrapped up in blankets and hid them in a storage ottoman in the living room, according to court records.

Kraabell said she and Iverson, 53, were interviewed by police and told not to return to the apartment. But when they came back the next day, she realized police did not find the hidden guns and ammunition. Kraabell and Iverson moved the ottoman into a storage unit, the affidavit says.

Cooper, 45, came to the storage unit a day or two later and left with the guns — three “AR style” rifles and a fourth firearm. Police say he took them to the house of a friend, Richard Ott. Ott told police that once he realized the guns were associated with Brown’s shooting, he told Cooper to come pick them up, according to an affidavit.

Court records state Cooper picked up the guns from Ott’s residence on July 25 or 26. Cooper and Iverson were seen on surveillance footage Aug. 15 at the Hazel Dell Quality Inn on Highway 99 carrying large bags into a room rented in Cooper’s name. Two days later, Cooper is seen loading the bags back into his car with his girlfriend and taking them to her house, the affidavit states.

Police found text messages on Cooper’s phone that show him negotiating buying the guns from Iverson and attempting to sell them to someone he describes as a “big dope drug dealer,” according to the affidavit.

Cooper allegedly told police he gave the guns back to Kraabell and Iverson but then changed his statement and said he sold the guns. He would not say to whom, court records say.

According to a search warrant affidavit filed Sept. 8, there are 14 firearms — including three AR-15 rifles — outstanding from the Hazel Dell storage unit burglary in June.

Court records show Cooper is facing one count of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, four counts of possession of a stolen firearm and one count of first-degree trafficking in stolen property. He pleaded not guilty to the charges last month, and his trial is scheduled for Oct. 4. He is being held on $100,000 bail.

Iverson is facing one count of first-degree trafficking in stolen property. He pleaded not guilty to the charge last month, and his trial is also scheduled for Oct. 4. He is being held on $300,000 bail.