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Community Corrections Officers Aid Lincoln County Sheriff's Office in Seizing Firearms

September 15, 2021

By Rachel Friederich, Communications Office and Kristine Skipworth, Community Corrections Division Regional Administrator

man standing in front of table filled with evidence

Community Corrections Officer Jeremy Wilson inventories evidence seized from a sex offender’s home in Lincoln County in June. Items recovered include 13 firearms, more than 7,450 rounds of ammunition firearm magazines, various knives and ballistic vests. (Photos by Community Corrections Officers Connie Hull and James Larson)

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WILBUR – Five Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) Officers played a major role in helping Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrest a sex offender and recover 13 guns, several loaded magazines and over 7,450 of rounds of ammunition. Sheriff deputies said it was one of the largest seizures ever in the small community’s history.

On June 21, Community Corrections Officer Connie Hull had received a tip that one of the men on her caseload, a special sex offender sentencing alternative program (SSOSA), participant was in violation of his release conditions because he was in possession of firearms.

The tipster also told Hull the man had inherited a handgun and two shotguns from a deceased relative and was hiding the firearms from family and the DOC, thinking limited COVID-19 operations would prevent officers from discovering the guns.

Hull shared the information with Community Corrections Officer Jeremy Wilson, who was the designee that day. DOC sent a gang unit team consisting of Hull, Wilson, Community Corrections Officers Elizabeth Nielsen and James Larson. The team travelled to Wilbur, a rural community about 65 miles west of Spokane to make contact with the man. On the way, the gang unit team met with a Lincoln County Sheriff deputy. The deputy agreed to help them contact the individual. The team contacted the man at his home and arrested him.

After the officers arrested the man, he showed them where he had hidden a 9mm Glock pistol with a magazine loaded with 17 rounds of ammunition.

The man also showed the officers to his bedroom closet, where they recovered a loaded Remington 870 shotgun. Officers searched the rest of his home. They recovered 10 additional rifles and handguns, more than 7,400 rounds of rifle, pistol and shotgun ammunition, more than 50 rifle and pistol magazines, the majority of which were loaded to capacity, three complete sets of hard and soft body armor. The officers also discovered evidence the man was manufacturing firearms in his garage. Officers also recovered knives, alcohol, marijuana, pornography and handcuffs. The officers also found paperwork documenting the man’s wife had purchased the firearms and ammunition on his behalf.

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms is now investigating the man’s wife in her involvement in the incident. Lincoln County Sheriffs booked him into the local jail. He is facing 12 counts of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, and a return to Spokane County to face revocation of his SSOSA sentence.

The gang unit team worked until midnight inventorying, packaging and storing the seized evidence. Community Corrections Officer Kelsey Bluford assisted the team.

The next day, local law enforcement officials discovered another handgun at the home that was hidden in a closet.

Community Corrections Officers Larson and Hull travelled back to Wilbur and met the man’s mother at the house, seizing a thirteenth firearm, which was a handgun. The officers also found more loaded pistol magazines, and more evidence the man was manufacturing firearms and more contraband related to his SSOSA sentence.

The deputy assisting the DOC team said he was only aware of one previous firearms seizure in the area that was larger during his service with the sheriff’s office, and that was related to the recovery of firearms stolen in a burglary.

The Sheriff’s Office and Wilbur community members reported they were very thankful to the DOC community corrections officers for removing the firearms, ammunition and armor from an individual who is legally prohibited from possessing them and for the quick coordinated response to the information they had received.

In total the community corrections officers assisted local sheriffs to recover 13 firearms, more than 50 loaded rifle and pistol magazines and more than 7,450 rounds of ammunition.