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Spokane/East. Wash/North Idaho News Releases for Thu. Mar. 30 - 7:44 pm
Wed. 03/29/23
Yakima Man Sentenced to 48 Months in Federal Prison for Firearm Offense
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 03/29/23 10:10 AM

Yakima, Washington – United States District Judge Mary K. Dimke sentenced James Duane Deckard, age 25, of Yakima, Washington, to 48 months in federal prison after Deckard had pleaded guilty on November 15, 2022 to being an Unlawful User of Controlled Substances and Person Convicted of Domestic Violence in Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition. Deckard will also serve three years of supervised release after his release from confinement.

According to court documents, on December 16, 2021, Deckard was involved in a domestic dispute where Deckard pointed a firearm at his intimate partner. On December 18, 2021, officers with the Yakima Police Department attempted to stop Deckard’s vehicle. Deckard accelerated and attempted to elude law enforcement through Yakima, eventually colliding with a fire engine. Deckard then ran from the vehicle and was apprehended. Deckard’s intimate partner – who had been inside the vehicle – alerted officers that Deckard had thrown an item out of the car while driving by a park. Officers responded to Raymond Park where they located a firearm, which was later found to have Deckard’s DNA. Various rounds of ammunition were recovered from Deckard’s vehicle as well as a substantial amount of marijuana. When detained, Deckard made statements indicating that Deckard was a user of methamphetamine. Deckard had previously been convicted of a domestic violence assault against his intimate partner.

After Deckard was sentenced, United States Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref stated, “Through our Safe Homes, Safe Community Initiative, we are protecting families and preventing firearm homicides perpetrated by those who have a history of domestic violence and unlawfully possess firearms. When there is a gun in a house that has a domestic abuser, the risk of violence increases significantly. Indeed, Offenders with a history of domestic violence that possess firearms are five times more likely to kill their partners. Abusers also use firearms to inflict fear, intimidation, and coercive control. By keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, our communities are safer and stronger.”

“The combination of domestic violence, drugs and firearms is not a good strategy for success,” said ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson.  “Once he completes his sentence, Mr. Deckard will still be relatively young.  We are hopeful that as a result of the prosecution in this case, Mr. Deckard can make the necessary changes in his life to become a positive member of the community on his release.” 

Chief Matthew Murray, Chief of Police for the Yakima Police Department commended the corroborative work of law enforcement to bring justice in this case. Chief Murray stated, “I applaud the work of both the ATF and U.S. Attorney in this case.  They are strong partners in Yakima’s effort to combat domestic violence in our community.  These prosecutions were the proactive concept of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and I believe send a strong message that acts of domestic violence will not be tolerated.

This case was prosecuted under the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program. PSN is a federal, state, and local law enforcement collaboration to identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals responsible for violent crimes in our neighborhoods. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement to specifically identify the criminals responsible for violent crime in the Eastern District of Washington and pursue criminal prosecution.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Yakima Police Department, and the Washington State Patrol. This case was prosecuted by Michael J. Ellis, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.



Tue. 03/28/23
Mexican National Sentenced to 144 Months for Drug Trafficking in the Tri Cities: (Photo)
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 03/28/23 6:41 PM

Defendant Used a Child to Transport Large Quantities of 
Methamphetamine in the Tri-Cities Area 

Richland, Washington – On March 28, 2023, Senior United States District Judge Edward F. Shea sentenced Rafael Muniz-De La Mora, 49, to 12 years in in federal prison after his guilty plea to possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of pure methamphetamine. Muniz-De La Mora, who is from Sinaloa, Mexico, also will serve 5 years of federal supervision after he is released from federal custody. 

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, the DEA Tri-Cities Task Force identified Muniz-De La Mora and his Codefendant, Carlos Madrigal-Deniz, during an investigation into a drug trafficking organization operating in the Tri-Cities area. Madrigal-Deniz was brokering pound quantity transactions for the drug trafficking organization, which routinely was distributing 100 to 200 pound shipments of methamphetamine into the Eastern Washington. During the investigation, De La Mora was identified as Madrigal-Deniz’s supplier. 

In September 2020, Madrigal-Deniz made arrangements for a ten-pound delivery of methamphetamine from Muniz-De La Mora, who brought a four-year-old child to the transaction. The child was wearing a Spider-Man backpack containing approximately 10 pounds of methamphetamine. Muniz-De La Mora escorted the young child, who is seen wearing the backpack, from one vehicle to another. Muniz-De La Mora, the child, and another co-defendant then entered into the second vehicle – a Chevy Cruze.  Shortly, thereafter, DEA Tri-Cities stopped the Chevy Cruze and recovered the backpack, which was inside the car, next to the child. Inside the Spider-Man Backpack, the DEA recovered 10 pounds of methamphetamine supplied by Muniz-De La Mora. Below are still shots from surveillance video of the transaction. Muniz-De La Mora appears in a black t-shirt. 

Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, stated “Drug distribution continues to be a scourge in the Tri-Cities and elsewhere.  It is particularly troubling that Mr. Muniz-De La Mora used a four-year old child to conceal his distribution activities” 

U.S. Attorney Waldref continued: “I commend the collaborative efforts of state, local, and federal law enforcement to identify Mr. Muniz-De La Mora’s drug trafficking activities and to prevent him from further distributing this poison in our community. The people of Eastern Washington also are incredibly fortunate to be represented in federal court by Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Van Marter, who spearheads federal drug prosecutions in the Tri-Cities and elsewhere in this District.”

“Mr. Muniz-De La Mora, an individual who involved a four-year-old in his drug distribution scheme, will spend a significant amount of time in prison due to the dedication of our state, local and federal partners who continue to work to keep our communities safe, healthy and free of individuals like him,” said Jacob D. Galvan, Acting Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division.

This case was investigated by the DEA Tri-Cities, the METRO Drug Task Force, United States Border Patrol, Richland Police Department, Kennewick Police Department, Pasco Police Department, and West Richland Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Van Marter. 


Attached Media Files: 2023-03/6857/162276/Muniz-De_La_Mora.jpg

Mon. 03/27/23
News from the Northwest Power and Conservation Council: Ocean Conditions Challenge Salmon; Funding for Hatcheries, Screens, Lands; 2022 Fish Returns and 2023 Forecasts
Northwest Power and Conservation Council - 03/27/23 4:53 PM

News from the Northwest Power and Conservation Council
March 27, 2023

Ocean Conditions are Challenging Salmon, Emphasizing Need for Management Actions
Despite good ocean conditions in the recent years, the trend for the future is not encouraging, according to NOAA Supervisory Research Fish Biologist Brian Burke.
Ensuring Funding for the Long-term Maintenance of Fish Hatcheries, Fish Screens, and Lands
The Council was briefed on the continued support for addressing non-recurring maintenance needs for past fish and wildlife investments in hatcheries, fish screens, and mitigation lands.

Columbia River Basin Fish Returns and Forecast for 2023
WDFW & IDFG gave an overview of the 2022 adult Chinook, coho, sockeye, and chum salmon and steelhead runs for the Columbia River and expectations for the 2023 fisheries, including information on the Snake River Basin salmon and steelhead returns and the forecast returns for 2023.

Council Comments on Bonneville’s Draft 2022-2027 Energy Efficiency Action Plan

Next Council Meeting: April 12-13 (Webinar)