Bridge-jumping drug suspect now in federal court
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
A woman who once escaped Wenatchee police by jumping handcuffed off Sleepy Hollow Bridge now faces charges in federal court as part of a large-scale drug trafficking indictment.
Sandra I. Duffy, 46, is named in a federal indictment issued Friday, which charges at least 20 people from throughout Washington as participants in a major methamphetamine and cocaine network.
Most of those arrested were captured in raids staged Thursday in Moses Lake, Pasco, Connell, Royal City, Spokane, Othello, Desert Aire and Cheney. Duffy was already facing charges in Chelan County after she was arrested May 12, when police said she was apprehended with 5 1/2 ounces of methamphetamine in her car, along with cocaine, heroin and numerous prescription pills.
She was arraigned Tuesday in U.S. District Court on charges of conspiracy to distribute meth and cocaine, plus possession of 50 grams or more of meth with intent to distribute. The indictment is tied to her May 12 arrest by Wenatchee police and Chelan County sheriff’s deputies.
In that case, officers of the Columbia River Drug Task force arrested an unnamed man they said bought meth and heroin in controlled buys arranged by police. The man agreed to turn informant, and named Duffy as his methamphetamine dealer, according to police affidavits.
The informant called Duffy and asked her to bring meth to a Wenatchee parking lot. When she arrived, police said, she was arrested and gave a voluntary taped confession, admitting to drug sales and possession.
When Duffy’s car was searched under warrant, police said they discovered meth, heroin, cocaine, oxycodone and more than $2,300 in cash. They said they also found ledgers containing names that Duffy said were her buyers, along with the dollar amounts they owed to her.
Duffy was charged locally with seven narcotics offenses, including unlawful possession and delivery. The Chelan County Prosecutor’s Office withdrew those charges Monday, in light of the federal case. She remained in the Chelan County Regional Justice Center as of Tuesday afternoon.
In July 2008, Duffy escaped from police while facing similar legal troubles. Under arrest for meth possession, she offered to work with drug investigators to rope in her dealer, known as “Abraham.” Duffy made the arrangements on her cellphone, and Columbia River Drug Task Force officers staked out either end of Sleepy Hollow Bridge about 10:30 p.m. July 1 while Duffy waited in the middle of the bridge to make the buy.
But Duffy had texted her daughter while in police custody, enlisting her and a male friend in an unwitting deception. She’d arranged for the man to call her cell phone and demand to meet her at the bridge, leading the police to believe he was “Abraham.” When questioned later, neither the man nor Duffy’s daughter seemed to have known her plan.
Duffy leaped from the bridge into the Wenatchee River about 20 feet below. She was not found until early July 3, when police recaptured her at a home in Valley Hi, 23 miles from the bridge.
In that case too, local charges were dismissed to make way for federal prosecutors, and Duffy pleaded guilty the methamphetamine possession in U.S. District Court Dec. 14, 2009. She was sentenced to two years in prison and a year of supervised release.
Duffy’s co-defendants in the new federal case include Flavio Ramos-Chaidez, Hilario Garcia-Moreno Jr., Jazmin Acosta-Beltran, Cruz Mendoza, Israel Benjamin Wright, Jacqueline Ramos, Alex Villanueva-Garcia, Luis Cerna, Felix Ruben Rodriguez, Cody Lee Poole, Cruz Rangel, Caleb Vanden Dormaier, Nelson Perez, Gabriel Santiago Medina, Dusty Blue Zarate, Heath Wisdom, Jesus Enrique Meza-Valdez, Jayro Alvarez-Farias and Elizabeth Arroyo-Toro. At least one other name on the indictment is redacted.
Jefferson Robbins: 664-7123
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