Gang-hangout raiders scoop up guns, drugs

Find out how the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office deputies got ready for this major outer East Portland bust …

Ordinary folks probably didn’t know that units in these hidden triplexes were secretly a meeting place for gun-toting, drug-dealing felons.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Several months of investigation gave members of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Special Investigations Unit (SIU) good reason to believe illegal activity was taking place at two adjoining duplexes along the TriMet MAX Light Rail line, in the Hazelwood neighborhood.

But, the SIU didn’t act immediately; they continued to gather information before suiting-up for a raid.

“Part of SIU investigations is about suspected illegal activity, like selling or distributing illegal drugs,” explained MCSO Public Information Officer Lt. Steve Alexander.

“Investigators also gain intelligence about the suspects themselves,” Alexander told East Portland News. “Specifically, they consider the risks of serving a warrant, and the risk of potential for violence.”

SERT crew members talk with investigators, creating a plan of attack.

Part of the intelligence portfolio in this case, Alexander added, indicated that the units located 10995 and 10997 East Burnside Street were a gathering place for armed white supremacist gang members from European Kindred (EK), Brood, and FBK (Fat Bitch Killers) gangs – who were suspected of distributing illegal drugs.
The SIU team didn’t take any chances when they executed a search warrant at this location at 3:00 a.m. on August 21. They enlisted the aid of the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) – as well as the Washington County Tactical Negotiations Team.

Detectives find methamphetamine, packaged in EZY DOSE brand pouches, ready for street distribution.

SERT detained two suspects who were outside the units on the grounds as they arrived, Alexander said. “SERT deployed ‘flash-bangs’ and loud-hailed the remaining occupants inside, and ordered them to come out of the units.”

However, the suspected gang members inside wouldn’t budge.

“After no one in the units complied with the order, Portland Police SERT deployed tear gas into the units,” recounted Alexander. “Several suspects came out of the units at this time, surrendered, and were detained.”

Taken in the raid: These three semi-automatic pistols

… and these revolvers.

SERT and Washington County TNT then entered and searched the units, and located one additional suspect hiding in an attic.

With the suspects now outside, SIU investigators – assisted by MCSO Detectives, MCSO Warrant Strike Team members, Gresham Police Department’s Special Enforcement Team, and a PPB drug K9 – searched the two units.

“They found and seized six firearms (3 semi-automatics and 2 revolvers), an antique flintlock rifle, drug scales and packaging materials, drug records, and approximately one and a half ounces of methamphetamine packaged for street sales,” reported Alexander.

A total of 10 people were originally detained, but two females were released because there was insufficient cause to hold them.

Four of the suspects arrested: Joshua Ryan Sparks, Anthony Staggs, Kenneth Wellman Jr., and James Dean Phillips.

The four additional suspects arrested included Jesse Jerome Phillips, Sarah Elisabeth Dunn, Danielle Ruth Palen, and Jamie Walter Coleman.


At 6:36 a.m. that morning, the following were processed into the Multnomah County Detention Center:

  • 35-year-old Joshua Ryan Sparks, arrested on federal warrant for a parole violation, Felon in possession of firearm;
  • 42-year old Anthony Staggs arrested on a probation violation, Felon in possession of a firearm;
  • 48-year-old Kenneth Wellman Jr. arrested on a probation violation;
  • 45-year-old James Dean Phillips arrested on probation violation;
  • 34-year-old Jesse Jerome Phillips arrested on a parole violation;
  • 32-year-old Sarah Elisabeth Dunn, arrested on an outstanding warrant (Possession of Methamphetamine);
  • 22-year-old Danielle Ruth Palen arrested on an outstanding warrant for Theft II; and,
  • 43-year-old Jamie Walter Coleman was arrested for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender – Felony.

“The investigation is continuing, and additional charges are expected to be added,” Alexander said.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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