By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – Two Centralia residents were arrested for allegedly helping a wanted man – who uses the identity of his dead 11-year-old brother – get out of jail and get out of town before authorities realized who he really was.
John Lewis, 53, has an arrest warrant from California and was arrested in Doty while deputies were investigating a large-scale fuel theft operation on July 31. He was believed to be 47-year-old Jason A. Lewis.
Lewis County Sheriff’s Office deputies using information obtained from phone calls made from the jail were led on Thursday to a home on the 2700 block Graf Road where they found almost a half pound of methamphetamine and arrested 51-year-old Shauna Teagle, according to authorities.
A second resident of the home, Eric D. Waller, 43, was already in the jail, but was arrested on the same information, Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Eric Eisenberg said yesterday.
Waller and Teagle went before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court yesterday afternoon where they were charged with possession of meth with intent to deliver, as well as accomplices in Lewis’s bail jumping and identity theft.
Prosecutors contend Teagle admitted to dealing drugs with Lewis and Waller for years.
Lewis came to the attention of law enforcement officers late last month when surveillance video at a Texaco station in Silver Creek showed three vehicles arrive and somehow pump about $6,000 worth of fuel without paying. A subsequent search at the 100 block of Elk Creek Road in Doty turned up his canopied pickup truck with darkened windows and contained two large fuel tanks, a portable pump and a nozzle.
Lewis’s motorhome was parked inside a barn on the property.
More than a month earlier, an un-named source had told detectives the property owner, Harold Lusk, and a man from California were cooking methamphetamine for sale at the property and stealing large quantities of gasoline from local stations. The cook was supposedly hiding in the barn in a travel trailer. No mention was made in Lewis’s charging documents of meth-making materials located during the search.
Local authorities found a warrant for John A. Lewis out of Sacramento, and a criminal history involving drugs and theft that stretches back to 1986, according to charging documents.
Detectives uncovered records that John Lewis adopted the identity of his younger brother Jason Lewis, who died in 1977 at age 11, according to charging documents.
He was believed to have left town in his 1994 Mountain Air motorhome but charging documents indicate he gave that to Teagle and Waller in exchange for their help; and that Teagle provided him a car.
According to Teagle and Waller’s charging documents, the couple put up $2,000 for his bail and gave him $3,000 travel money. Another individual was paid $250 to arrange Lewis’s bail at Jail Sucks Bail Bonds.
Teagle allegedly arranged to have Lewis’s wife Debra Bean picked up from the Portland airport when she flew up to retrieve her husband.
Lewis bailed out two days after his arrest and failed to return to court for his arraignment.
Lewis is charged in Lewis County Superior Court with first-degree theft, first-degree trafficking in stolen property and possession of methamphetamine, and is also wanted now for bail jumping and identity theft.
Previously charged with Lewis in connection with the alleged fuel trafficking are Lusk, 28; Alyssa J. Hanson, 20, of Doty; and Raymond T. Hankins, 48, of Yelm.
Judge Richard Brosey set bail for Waller yesterday, at $100,000. Although he was about to start a new job driving a log truck, Waller is unemployed so qualified for a court appointed attorney, temporary defense attorney Bob Schroeter said.
The judge was told Teagle earns $1,600 a month managing a spa in Olympia, but also qualified for appointed counsel. Her bail was set at $50,000. Teagle is a 2012 graduate of drug court.
Their arraignments are set for this coming Thursday.
For background, read “Sheriff’s Office: Large scale gasoline stealing operation uncovered” from Friday August 1, 2014, here