Seattle Police intercept EBT fraud ring

Dec 16, 2022, 1:56 PM | Updated: 2:35 pm
(Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
(Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

The Seattle Police Department has seized drugs, handguns, and EBT cards in Beacon Hill after an investigation into a fraud ring.

Late in the summer, Seattle Police began an operation investigating the sale of fentanyl and the trade of stolen merchandise in exchange for fentanyl in the Chinatown-International District.

Detectives from the Major Crimes Task Force partnered with federal authorities, including Homeland Security Investigations throughout the operation.

Detectives learned of a man dealing narcotics out of an RV, according to police. On Sept. 23, officers served a search warrant on the RV in the 3700 block of Southwest Marginal Place and arrested the occupant.

Police took the man into custody and booked the 63-year-old man into King County Jail for illegal possession of narcotics and unlawful possession of a firearm.

The seizure included $5,000 cash, clonazepam, oxycodone, methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, a revolver, and a black powder pistol.

Detectives continued to investigate and learned multiple suspects in the CID were involved in a scheme to exploit victims’ access to EBT/food assistance.

Investigators said the suspects offered EBT recipients between 50 cents and 30 cents on the dollar for the balances on their EBT cards. In most cases, the suspects accompanied cardholders into a store, instructed them what to buy, and took custody of the groceries/merchandise after checking out.

They would then pay the cardholder a fraction of the value of the purchased goods in cash, according to police. The suspects then often sold the goods on the street or brought the items to be used at a restaurant.

Detectives identified five individuals that took part in the EBT scheme daily and will be requesting felony-level charges for money laundering and trafficking in food stamps.

Man found stabbed to death in abandoned Seattle building

Small explosive detonated near Judkins Park

The Seattle Police Department is asking for the public’s help to identify the occupants of a grey sedan that detonated a small homemade explosive or firework device near Judkins Park.

(Photo courtesy of Seattle Police Department)

It happened at 4:30 a.m. Dec. 11 in the 2900 block of South Irving Street.

If you have any information about this incident, please contact investigators at 206-684-8980.

“Operation Boost Busters” aimed to prevent retail theft

The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office said on Dec. 14, deputies, with assistance from the Washington State Patrol, teamed up with more than 30 loss prevention officers to conduct the retail theft enforcement emphasis named “Operation Boost Busters” in Silverdale.

Deputies were called for 12 incidents at various retail stores in Silverdale. A total of 10 people were arrested and booked into the Kitsap County Jail for different criminal charges, including theft, organized retail theft, possession of stolen property, assault, and possession of controlled substances (methamphetamines and fentanyl pills).

(Photo courtesy of Kitsap County)

Two suspects were booked for outstanding warrants for theft and DUI. Two suspects were released at the scene, and two were able to get away in vehicles.

Deputies said more than $4,000 worth of items was stolen, with deputies recovering a little more than $3800 worth of the stolen merchandise.

It was the first operation of its kind in Kitsap County, and deputies said more are planned in the future.

“Chronic taker” strikes Gig Harbor

Gig Harbor Police is looking for a woman they consider a chronic taker at several stores in the town.

If you can help identify the suspect, call Sergeant Martineau at (253) 851-2236, case # 22-349-00853.

(Photo courtesy of Gig Harbor)

“Porch pirate” strikes Westport

The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office is attempting to identify the individual responsible for the theft of a package off of the porch in the Westport area.

(Photo courtesy of Grays Harbor)

If you have information on who this subject is, please call GH dispatch at 360-533-8765 or Chief Criminal Deputy Kevin Schrader, Case #22-28017.

Have a tip on a crime story? Message Darren Dedo on Twitter or email him here.

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Seattle Police intercept EBT fraud ring