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Police crackdown leads to 14 arrests Wednesday

St. Helens chief: 'We can't afford to sit by and wait'


by: FILE PHOTO - Terry Moss.Some 14 criminal suspects were arrested in south Columbia County Wednesday, July 9, as part of a crackdown billed as “the largest tactical operation in recent Columbia County history,” according to the St. Helens Police Department.

At least 35 officers representing every law enforcement agency in the county, as well as the United States Marshals Service, participated in the operation, police said. A statement from the department said officers “spread out across the region in an attempt to seek out and arrest criminals who are actively involved in the drug dealing, burglaries and thefts that have plagued our communities.”

Officers began in Rainier and spread out from there, searching more than 25 different addresses in south Columbia County, according to the St. Helens police.

Many of the suspects identified by the St. Helens police were arrested for offenses such as contempt of court, failure to appear in court, possession of methamphetamine and probation violation. However, two face charges of theft.

The greater St. Helens area has been hit by a series of burglaries and thefts over the past two months. Police said “traditional law enforcement methods” have been ineffective in countering the rash of property crimes, and Wednesday's crackdown was part of an effort to respond.

“We can’t afford to sit by and wait,” St. Helens Police Chief Terry Moss was quoted as saying. “Not all of these suspects are responsible for the burglaries, but their criminal behavior is part of this problem. We want them know that we are serious about this.”

More arrests are expected in connection with the operation, according to police.

The St. Helens Police Department identified the suspects it said were arrested Wednesday:

  • Sierra Rae Bahl, a 30-year-old former Columbia City resident, was arrested on a Probation Violation.
  • Kyle Glen Gatten, a 22-year-old St. Helens resident, was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine)
  • Robert Eugene Westmoreland II, a 19-year-old St. Helens resident, was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine)
  • Brook P. Waits, a 30-year-old Rainier resident, was arrested on an outstanding arrest warrant charging her with Contempt of Court.
  • Jace Allen Massutti, a 30-year-old Rainier resident, was arrested on an outstanding arrest warrant charging him with Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine).
  • Shalisa M. Hill, a 27-year-old Columbia County resident, was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine).
  • Gracie A. Beeler, a 48-year-old St. Helens resident, was arrested on an outstanding warrant charging her with Failure to Appear.
  • Anthony M. Dehererra, a 28-year-old St. Helens resident was arrested on a Parole Violation.
  • Jennifer L. Hawkins, a 42-year-old St. Helens resident, was arrested on a warrant charging her with a Probation Violation.
  • Abigail J. Schneider, a 23-year-old St. Helens resident, was arrested on a warrant charging her with a Probation Violation.
  • Cory D. Holbert, a 24-year-old St. Helens resident, was arrested on a warrant charging him with Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine) and Theft in the Third Degree.
  • Christopher S. Mollenhour, a 24-year-old St. Helens resident, was arrested for Theft in the Second Degree.
  • Kyle T. Deherrera, a 25-year-old St. Helens resident, was arrested on warrant charging him with Failure to Appear.
  • Ryan Hamilton Hall, a 27-year-old St. Helens resident, was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine).