SPOKANE — A Wenatchee man authorities believe is a “kingpin” of local drug activity has been indicted in the Spokane federal court for illegally possessing a firearm.

Rafael “Froggy” Lima, 40, was charged Oct. 21 in the Eastern District Court of Washington with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The charge stems from a March drug arrest in Wenatchee during which he allegedly had a Walther PPK .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol, according to the indictment.

Lima was arraigned Tuesday in federal court and pleaded not guilty. He’s being held without bond at the Spokane County Jail. Trial is set for Dec. 14.

Lima was initially charged in Chelan County Superior Court with two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, possessing a stolen firearm, unlawful possession of methamphetamine, two counts of unlawful possession of heroin, and possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver.

His legal troubles continued while in custody. In May, Lima and Joshua James Cornwell were charged with first- and second-degree assault after they allegedly attacked a fellow inmate.

Both local cases were dismissed Monday without prejudice while the federal government prosecutes Lima. Because they were dismissed without prejudice, Chelan County Prosecutor Doug Shae said his office could refile charges after the conclusion of Lima’s federal case.

It’s not uncommon for someone with a felony conviction to be arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm; those cases are typically prosecuted at the superior court level. However, it’s less common for the federal government to pursue charges.

“It’s not completely unusual for the federal government where someone has unlawful possession of a firearm if they’ve got a dangerous criminal history,” Shae said.

Lima’s criminal history includes a 1998 conviction for first-degree assault and attempted drive-by shooting after he shot a 15-year-old boy in the arm during a gang-related shooting. He was released from prison in 2017. Wenatchee police officers believe Lima resumed gang activity not long after.

Police wrote in a probable cause affidavit in March that Lima is considered a “kingpin” within the Wenatchee drug trade as a member of the Sureños gang.

Pete O’Cain: 664-7152

ocain@wenatcheeworld.com or

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