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Oct. 6, 2022

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Oregon man pleads guilty in gun theft tied to killing of sheriff’s Sgt. Jeremy Brown

Man will testify against woman whose brother-in-law is accused of fatally shooting deputy

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
3 Photos
Brian Clement leaves a courtroom Tuesday at the Clark County Courthouse after pleading guilty to second-degree burglary and theft of a firearm. He was sentenced to 7 1/2  years in prison in connection with the stolen firearms trafficking scheme that led to the July 2021 shooting death of Clark County sheriff's Sgt. Jeremy Brown.
Brian Clement leaves a courtroom Tuesday at the Clark County Courthouse after pleading guilty to second-degree burglary and theft of a firearm. He was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison in connection with the stolen firearms trafficking scheme that led to the July 2021 shooting death of Clark County sheriff's Sgt. Jeremy Brown. (Photos by Taylor Balkom/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

An Oregon man was sentenced Tuesday to 7½ years in prison in connection with the stolen firearms trafficking scheme that led to the July 2021 shooting death of Clark County sheriff’s Sgt. Jeremy Brown.

Brian Clement, 51, pleaded guilty in Clark County Superior Court to second-degree burglary and theft of a firearm. Another charge of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm was dismissed as part of his plea agreement.

The plea deal also includes a cooperation agreement requiring Clement to testify against his co-defendant, Misty Raya, who prosecutors say he helped break into a Hazel Dell storage unit to steal dozens of firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Prosecutors have said that one of the guns stolen from the storage unit was used by Raya’s brother-in-law, Guillermo Raya Leon, to shoot Brown as he was working undercover July 23, 2021, at an apartment complex in east Vancouver.

Clement is the second person connected to the stolen firearms trafficking scheme to take a plea deal with a cooperation agreement.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jessica Smith said during Tuesday’s hearing that Clement was not directly involved in Brown’s death, but Clement’s actions set off a series of events that led to it. She said he helped Raya break into safes inside the storage unit to get to the guns and ammunition inside.

Defense attorney Kari Reardon said that under different circumstances, she likely would’ve asked Judge John Fairgrieve to sentence Clement to drug treatment court, because at the time of the crime, he’d relapsed. She said Clement recognizes the significance of his actions.

Clement apologized to the Brown family Tuesday and said he wouldn’t have been involved if he knew someone would be killed.

“As a previous military police officer, my heart goes out to the family,” Clement said.

Fairgrieve ordered the agreed-upon 90-month sentence and acknowledged the compromises prosecutors have made to ensure cooperation agreements and stronger cases against those charged directly with Brown’s killing. He also recognized that Clement showed remorse for his role.

Clement had been serving a 116-month prison sentence in Oregon for a number of offenses, including burglary and theft, when he was transferred in February to the Clark County Jail to face the local charges, court records show. He will serve his Clark County sentence in Oregon concurrent with those sentences.

According to court records, a man reported to police that his storage unit was broken into between June 1 and June 3, 2021. Among other items, dozens of firearms, 20,000 to 30,000 rounds of ammunition, his Social Security card, his birth certificate and his credit cards were stolen.

He said he learned of the burglary after being alerted to fraudulent activity on his credit cards, court records state.

Surveillance footage from Public Storage, 7601 N.E. Fifth Ave., captured a dark blue Volvo XC 90, with three people inside, enter the facility at about 6:30 a.m. June 1. The burglars entered a different unit to access the victim’s unit. They left and returned again later that morning, court records say.

Then, at about 3 p.m. June 2, the Volvo returned, this time using the victim’s entry code after the burglars rented another unit in his name. The surveillance footage captured two women in the vehicle and them loading up items, according to court records.

The following morning, at about 7:30, a Dodge pickup, driven by a man, later identified by investigators as Clement, is seen entering the facility using the victim’s entry code. Clement and a woman, later identified as Raya, are seen entering the victim’s unit and carrying what appears to be dozens of ammunition cases to the pickup, court documents state.

On July 6, 2021, investigators were notified that Clement was in custody at Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facilities in The Dalles. He told investigators Raya contacted him about needing help getting into a secondary safe at a storage unit. He went with her and loaded the safe into his pickup, he said, along with other items, court records say.

Investigators said Clement described the different firearms that were in the safe and thousands of rounds of ammunition by caliber. He also said he was paid for his services with some of the stolen firearms, a probable cause affidavit states.

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