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Many Arrested in Local Drug Investigation

Posted: September 27, 2007 4:07:23 PM PDT

The Northwest Regional Drug Task Force* (DTF), assisted by several agencies** served 6 search warrants in Whatcom and Skagit County today (9/26/07) and arrested ten suspects*** for various drug related charges or outstanding warrants.  Several more suspects are being sought which should result in a total of eighteen or more total arrests.  The arrests stemmed from a year long investigation, by the DTF, into the sale and distribution of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and oxycodone in Bellingham and Whatcom County. 

Most of the distribution of the illegal drugs centered around two properties owned by two brothers, Bode Gwinner, 2141 Mt. Baker Highway, and Matthew Gwinner, 2613 Dakin Street in Bellingham.  Bellingham Police have had over 40 complaints since 2004 regarding suspicious drug activity from the Dakin Street home.  Undercover agents were able to purchase illegal drugs at both residences numerous times during the investigation.  This led to the connections with the other arrestees and other suspects sought.  Bode L. Gwinner 8/31/61 was taken into custody today but Robert Matthew Gwinner 3/2/66 has not been located yet.  Authorities are asking anyone with information on the location of Matthew Gwinner to call 911.

The Whatcom County Sheriff's Special Response Team and the Bellingham Police SWAT Team secured the two residences this morning so that DTF Detectives could serve search warrants on them.  Drug dogs from the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Border Patrol also assisted in the searches.  After the search warrants were served the Whatcom County Prosecutors Office filed seizure papers on both homes and property. The Mt Baker Property includes over 27 acres of land.

In related arrests: James W. Powell 7/9/60, owner of Jim's Marine 2138 Mt. Baker Highway, was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver.  A pickup truck and ski boat were seized from Powell.

DTF Detectives assisted by the Skagit County Inter local Drug Enforcement Unit served three search warrants at the Whispering Firs Motel, 1721 Old Highway 99 Burlington, WA.  Four people were arrested on drug charges.  A 35 foot motor home, Honda Civic, and 1/2 pound of methamphetamine were seized.

The Whatcom and the Skagit County Detachments of the Washington State Patrol assisted the DTF in stopping and transporting suspects as well as providing a drug dog.

Seizure Summary:  Dodge Ram, Nissan Maxima, Chev Truck, Ski Boat, Honda Civic, Sprinter Motor home, Rifle; House/out buildings on 27 acres; and a house on a city lot.

*The Northwest Regional Drug Task Force is a combined multi-agency drug investigative unit that is comprised of personnel from the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office, Whatcom County Prosecutor's Office, Bellingham Police Department, Ferndale Police Department, Washington State Patrol, and the U.S. Border Patrol.

**Assisting Agencies:  Whatcom County Sheriff's Special Response Team and Patrol Division; Bellingham Police Special Investigations Unit, SWAT Team and Patrol Division; Whatcom and Skagit County Detachments of the Washington State Patrol; U.S. Border Patrol, Skagit County Inter local Drug Enforcement Unit; and the Skagit County Sheriff's Office Patrol Division.

 ***Arrested:  (all arrests made without incident)

Bodie L. Gwinner 8/31/61, 2141 Mt. Baker Highway Bellingham, WA  Nine Counts Delivery of a Controlled Substance (coke/meth)

James W. Powell 7/9/60, 2138 Mt. Baker Highway Bellingham, WA  Possession of a Controlled Substance (meth) with Intent to Deliver, Conspiracy to Possess a Controlled Substance NOTE:  A possible School Enhancement Charge will be added to the delivery charge (within 1000 feet of Sehome High School)

Tracy Paul Low 5/20/71, 2141 Mt. Baker Highway Bellingham, WA  Delivery of a Controlled Substance (meth)

Cheryl E. Wilson 12/11/56, Transient, Misdemeanor Traffic Warrant

Jason J. Porter 12/7/74,  2141 Mt. Baker Highway Bellingham, WA  Possession of a Controlled Substance (meth)

Michelle R. Slage 10/10/73, Transient,  Delivery of a Controlled Substance (meth)

Scott C. Bonner 3/31/70, Transient, three counts Delivery of a Controlled Substance (meth)

Ofelia Smutny 8/25/74 Transient, Delivery of a Controlled Substance (meth) and DOC Warrant

Stanley Eric Sander 7/11/73, Transient, Possession of a Controlled Substance (meth)

Autumn L. Cooper 9/28/81, Transient, Possession of a Controlled Substance (meth)

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Media Contact:
Lieutenant Rick Sucee
Northwest Regional Drug Task Force Commander
360 815 1696
rsucee@cob.org 

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