Police seize gun cache after drug bust

Police say catching a Southeast man with heroin – and a gun – led to finding a trove of weapons stashed all over a Foster-Powell neighborhood house …

Police display some of the 35 guns – many said to be high-quality expensive rifles – found in the house of a man they believe is a heroin dealer.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
An investigation begun in January led to two arrests for alleged distribution of heroin at 4:00 p.m. on February 20 in the Lents Neighborhood, in the Eastport Plaza parking lot.

“Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct Neighborhood Response Team (NRT) officers contacted the suspect,” said Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson. “He was in possession of an ounce of heroin – and was armed with a handgun in a shoulder holster.”

30-year-old Joshua Michael Buettner, and 26-year-old Jehna Gowanlock, were arrested – not on gun charges, despite their arsenal, but for distribution of heroin.

At 4:26 p.m. that afternoon, police placed 30-year-old Joshua Michael Buettner under arrest; and six minutes later, also arrested 26-year-old Jehna Gowanlock.

Later, officers went to Buettner’s residence in the Foster-Powell Neighborhood, on SE 75th Avenue, just south of SE Holgate Boulevard. “They located and seized 34 additional firearms, including numerous rifles and handguns,” Simpson reported. “Additional evidence seized included ammunition and two safes.”

The following day at a PPB Property/Evidence Division conference room, Simpson showed the cache of guns taken in the case.

PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson shows a .556 caliber rifle, equipped with tactical flashlight and laser site. “This is not a weapon we’d commonly see on the streets,” Simpson commented. “These usually belong to high-end collectors or shooting enthusiasts.

“The guns were found all over his house,” Simpson described. “They were under the bed, under a pile of clothes in the corner – all over the place.”

Even though there weren’t children in the house, “This causes concern,” Simpson added.

“If someone were to burglarize this home they would’ve found tens of thousands of dollars worth of firearms that could be ‘turned’ on the street, and sold to the highest bidding criminal. Even responsible gun owners – if they don’t keep their guns safe – can have their weapons end up in the hands of criminals.”

This .223 caliber rifle is similar to an AR-15 rifle, Sgt. Simpson says.

Asked why all of Buettner’s guns were confiscated, Simpson told East Portland News “He was in possession of a firearm during the commission of a drug crime. He’s been charged with heroin possession and distribution.

“Now, the question is,” Simpson went on, “did he use profits from his illegal enterprise to buy guns? This is one of the questions we’re investigating.”

What startled the NRT officers – and all others in the Bureau who have seen the collection – isn’t just the number of guns they found, Simpson added.

“What is significant is the variety of weapons – the kinds and types that were found. There’s everything from deer rifles – like grandpa has in the garage – to Hollywood-style high-powered, high-quality, expensive rifles.”

In addition to guns, police say they also found a stash of ammunition and magazines.

Until they check the serial numbers, Simpson said they won’t know if the guns were stolen.

“Having these guns in the community, in the hands of an accused drug dealer, is concerning,” Simpson added. “We’re happy that they are secured here, with us – and they will stay here with us until we figure out this case.”

This .308 caliber rifle with folding bipod is set to “Shoot something from a long distance away,” Police spokesman Simpson says.

Buettner was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 1:25 a.m. on February 21 on multiple felony drug charges, including Delivery of Heroin. However, he was “Released on His Own Recognizance” later that same day.

Gowanlock was booked MCDC at 7:06 p.m. on February 20 on a felony drug charge of Delivery of Heroin and other drug possession charges. She was released that evening “On Own Recognizance”.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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