Updated at 8:28 p.m.
By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – Seven Randle residents went before a judge yesterday accused of selling methamphetamine to police informants at various times in the two months before last week’s roundup by more than two dozen law enforcement officers.
Among them was 24-year-old Leah D. Williams, whose worst crime before now was a ticket for littering in 2009.
Williams shares a home on Kiona Road with a 42-year-old construction worker. He was also arrested.
“She got caught up in the wrong crowd, let’s hope this is a wake up call,” her father Danny Williams said.
Danny Williams arranged for his daughter to move in with him in Morton if she was released from jail, since he anticipated she and her boyfriend would be prohibited from having contact with each other pending the outcome of their cases.
Leah D. Williams lives on $290 a month in financial support, plus food stamps, and has three young children, Chehalis attorney Bob Schroeter told the judge yesterday afternoon. She is charged with two counts of delivery of meth.
According to charging documents, on one occasion a confidential informant said they could purchase the drug from her boyfriend Byron O. Daily and on another occasion said they could get it from her or her boyfriend.
Each time, the informant wanted more, but was only able to get a “quarter” for $20, according to the allegations.
Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey allowed Leah Williams released on a $5,000 signature bond, meaning she does not have to post bail money but will owe the court that amount if she fails to appear for any proceedings.
Friday’s arrests, dubbed Operation Big Bottom Bust for the Big Bottom Valley in which they took place some 50 miles east of Interstate 5, were coordinated by the Lewis County Regional Drug Task Force.
Ten individuals were arrested in the sweep, according to the sheriff’s office, but one was only for a warrant and two men were released without charges pending further investigation. The two are Chris Edward Green, 58, and Jason A Green, 24.
The defendants were all represented during yesterday afternoon’s hearing by Schroeter who negotiated bail and helped schedule arraignment dates.
The defendants ranged from as young as Williams to as old as 57-year-old Jack Wayne Mullins.
Mullins, a lifetime Lewis County resident who owns the property where he lives on Falls Road, was charged along with 52-year-old Diane L. Allison for the three times an informant allegedly came to their home and bought $40 worth of meth.
Allison has several prior drug convictions, according to prosecutors. Mullins has none, although he did get in trouble for driving under the influence in 2011, according to Schroeter.
All of the defendants were charged with either two counts or three counts of delivery of methamphetamine. None were charged with possession of the drug, although police said they conducted search warrants on Friday at at least three locations.
Law enforcement officers confiscated one vehicle, some cash and some methamphetamine – mostly “street level” amounts like $25 bags, according to Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Criminal Deputy Gene Seiber.
Beginning at daybreak, the sheriff’s office and its SWAT team with assistance from three other police agencies hit five places in an hour and a half, Seiber said. The operation came after 14 undercover buys, he said.
It’s not like the community of Randle is some kind of large hub for supplying users in comparison to the rest of the county, according to the sheriff’s office.
“Meth is everywhere. Everywhere,” Seiber said. “It just happens we got in with this particular bunch.”
According to charging documents, the police-observed “buys” all took place at the defendant’s homes, except in the case of Robert D. LaChance Sr. who allegedly made his deals in a Randle parking lot and alongside U.S. Highway 12 in Glenoma. He lives with his parents on Ridge View Drive.
LaChance, 50, allegedly sold $160 worth of meth in one of his two transactions and $120 in the other.
LaChance’s legitimate income amounts to a $710 monthly payment from SSI, and like some of the others he has previous drug convictions.
The most recent undercover deals involved 42-year-old Keith Allen Sanders at his home on Morris Road where he’s lived for 30 years.
On June 3, sheriff’s detective Jeff Humphrey spoke with an informant who said he or she could purchase $40 worth of meth from Sanders, according to charging documents.
After the informant and their vehicle were searched, Humphrey provided the “pre-recorded” buy funds and then observed as the informant went to Sander’s home, charging documents relate. About 15 minutes later, the informant returned with a small baggie with a small amount of meth inside, according to the documents.
The same process was repeated the next day.
The highest bail any of them faced was $25,000 for Marty Joe Mullins, 48.
On one of the two visits informants made to Marty Mullins’ Kiona Road residence, they were made to wait while he retrieved the drugs from a neighbor’s place, according to charging documents.
Seiber said today they took 11 people into custody, and they are looking for number 12. It’s not clear who the 11th person was as the sheriff’s office announced only 10 arrests on Friday.
Morton police did arrest a 29-year-old woman for delivery of methamphetamine on Friday night after an officer was informed by someone they’d just witnessed a drug deal at an apartment on Westlake Avenue and provided a license plate numbers for a vehicle which left.
Twenty-seven-year-old Paul Leggett, of Glenoma, was subsequently located and arrested for possession of a small baggie of suspected meth.
Police arrested Bobbie E. Escontrias, 29, for delivery of a $20 amount of meth but found no drugs when the apartment was searched, according to charging documents in that case. On her person however, was found residue on a glass pipe, a baggie and a cotton ball, according to the documents.
Escontrias was charged yesterday with delivery, but with no criminal history, was allowed release on a $10,000 signature bond.
All of those charged will get a chance to make their pleas on Thursday or a week from Thursday in Lewis County Superior Court.
RANDLE: THE ARRESTS, THE CHARGES AND BAIL
• Marty J. Mullins, 48. Charge: Delivery of meth. Bail $25,000
• Diane L. Allison, 52. Charge: Delivery of meth. Bail $10,000
• Jack W. Mullins, 57. Charge: Delivery of meth. Bail $10,000 unsecured.
• Byron O. Daily, 42. Charge: Delivery of meth. Bail $10,000 unsecured.
• Leah D. Williams, 24. Charge: Delivery of meth. Bail $5,000 unsecured.
• Robert D. LaChance Sr., 50. Charge: Delivery of meth. Bail $10,000.
• Keith A. Sanders, 42. Charge: Delivery of meth. Bail $20,000.
• Chris E. Green, 58. Arrested for delivery of meth, but released without charges pending further investigation.
• Jason A Green, 24. Arrested for delivery and possession of meth, but released without charges pending further investigation
• Robert M. Church, 48. Arrested for felony warrant
For background, read “Breaking news: Drug dealing investigation nets multiple arrests in Randle” from Friday June 7, 2013 at 10:20 a.m., here