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News / Northwest

Mother of 3 who sold the stolen gun that killed an Washington preschooler sent to prison

By Annette Cary, Tri-City Herald
Published: March 22, 2023, 7:41am

An Othello woman has been sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison after selling stolen guns. One of them was involved in the shooting death of a 4 year old.

Alondra Yanez, 25, was sentenced on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm after a plea agreement that included dropping a charge of possessing stolen guns.

Her federal prison sentence is in addition to a 1-year term she received in Adams County that she has yet to complete, said U.S. Judge Thomas Rice. She will serve the sentences back to back.

She’ll be on probation for three years after her federal sentence.

Stolen guns

In February 2021, Guillermo Valdez stole 11 guns in the burglary of a house in Newman Lake, according to federal court documents.

Soon after, Yanez began sending messages to different people through Facebook Messenger advertising firearms for sale that matched many of the guns taken in the Newman Lake burglary.

She and Valdez sold two of the guns, both Colt Woodman .22 caliber pistols to a person in Othello, about 50 miles north of the Tri-Cities, according to court documents.

Yanez had the guns for three days and was already a felon at that time, according to court documents.

One of the pistols was recovered after Felipe Tapia-Perez, 27, was accused of fatally shooting his son, age 4, in the head on Feb. 27, 2021.

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Prosecutors in the federal case say the child was killed during a domestic violence dispute. It does not appear the father intended to shoot the child when he fired the gun.

“While the defendant (Yanez) did not fire the gun that killed the child in Othello, the events that followed the defendant’s involvement in the sale of that firearm demonstrate the risks involved in unlawful firearms trafficking,” according to prosecutors in a court document.

“When an individual traffics a stolen firearm to another person who, by virtue of their interest in purchasing an illegal gun, likely should not possess a firearm, the trafficker cannot know how the gun will be used to often — as in this case — tragic results,” according to the court document.

Yanez’s attorney Brooke Hagara of Spokane Valley asked the judge for a sentence of three years and 10 months to be served at the same time as the Adams County sentence. The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Washington asked for a sentence of four years to be served after she finishes the Adams County sentence.

Hagara said that Yanez is still young and will gain maturity in her years in prison and could benefit from drug treatment and education. Yanez will miss the first four years of her third child’s life, a baby born while she was in custody, her attorney said.

But Sterling Nixon, resident agent in charge for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, argued that Yanez’s “brazen conduct” clearly warranted the significant sentence she received.

“Ms. Yanez endangered our community by trafficking in stolen firearms,” agreed U.S. Attorney Vanessa Waldref. “Her conduct directly led to the tragic homicide of a 4-year-old child.”

In October, her co-defendant Valdez was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm and also additional time on methamphetamine distribution charges.

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