More than 23 pounds of meth, heroin seized in Chehalis

By Natalie Johnson

The Chronicle

In the second major meth bust in a week in Lewis County, three suspects were arrested Thursday in Chehalis as a result of a narcotics investigation spanning from California to Southwest Washington, according to a news release from Lewis County’s Joint Narcotic Enforcement Team.

Juan Fernando Campos-Campos, 29, of Vancouver, Washington, Manuel Rojas-Valdez, 22, of Rialto, California and Jose Luis Felix-Gonzalez, 52, of Stone Park, Illinois were arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail after police found more than 23 pounds of methamphetamine and more than two pounds of heroin in their possession.

On Friday afternoon, all three made their first appearances in Lewis County Superior Court, where Judge James Lawler imposed $1 million bail for each.

Lewis County deputy prosecutor Paul Masiello asked for $1 million bail for Rojas-Valdez and Campos-Campos, citing the seriousness of the case.

Defense attorney Rachael Tiller asked for lower bail, citing Rojas-Valdez’ conduct when contacted by police.

“He was completely forthcoming during the investigation,” she said.

Masiello asked for $2 million for Felix-Gonzalez, noting a previous conviction from North Carolina for trafficking in cocaine and evidence that he had been deported to Mexico then convicted for illegally re-entering the country.

Tiller asked Lawler not to consider immigration status when setting bail.

Lawler set bail at $1 million, like the other defendants.

“I’m not considering the immigration status, but the facts of this case are enough to give me concern for community safety,” he said.

According to the JNET news release and court documents, on Thursday officers were notified of a drug shipment coming through Lewis County in a purple Nissan truck. They located the truck in a parking lot in the 1600 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue and began surveillance, noticing that the truck seemed to be associated with a white Toyota sports car.

The vehicles moved to the 1700 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue, at which point police and K9 Axel, a narcotics detection dog with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, along with his partner deputy Rick Van Wyck, responded. The dog alerted at the suspects’ vehicle, which had California license plates, according to court documents.

Officers asked the driver of the convertible, identified as Rojas-Valdez, for permission to search the vehicle for drugs. He reportedly admitted to having drugs and told police where to find them.

A search revealed 23.3 pounds of methamphetamine and 2.35 pounds of heroin.

The methamphetamine was split between 22 bundles packed with dryer sheets to mask the smell. Campos-Campos and Felix-Gonzalez were identified as the occupants of the truck. Felix-Gonzalez reportedly denied known Rojas-Valdez, while Rojas Valdez and Campos-Campos told police that he had orchestrated the delivery of the drugs, according to court documents.

Members of Homeland Security Investigations also participated in the investigation.

The Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team is made up of members of the Centralia and Chehalis police departments, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington state Department of Corrections.

On April 26, JNET officers stopped a semi truck traveling through Lewis County on Interstate 5 and found 126 pounds of methamphetamine and thousands of Oxycodone pills.

Two suspects — Carlos Alejandro Luna-Rodriguez, 22, of Mexicali, Mexico and Bernardo Olivas-Leyva, 62, of Fontana, California, were arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail on numerous felony drug charges.