Police seek suspects in Worm Ranch gun case

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Pastor Tapia Nunez DOB 06/27/86 AKA El Pato

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Carmen R. Smith DOB 04/03/76 AKA Carma

WALLA WALLA -- Arrest warrants have been issued for two people charged in Superior Court with possessing guns stolen in a burglary at the Walla Walla Worm Ranch earlier this month.

Law enforcement officials are searching for College Place residents Carma R. Smith, 33, of 412 N. College Ave., and Pastor Tapia-Nunez, 23, of 125 S.W. 13th St.

They are charged with possessing six stolen pistols and an amount of suspected methamphetamine in a vehicle last week. Smith also was charged with unlawfully having the firearms because she was convicted of a felony in 2002 for possessing more than 40 grams of marijuana.

The charges filed Thursday afternoon stem from a traffic stop Wednesday in the area of North Sixth and Rees avenues about 7:30 p.m. for a license plate light violation, according to a law enforcement report filed in court.

Police said the city's K-9 officer detected the presence of drugs in the Nissan Altima driven by Smith, but neither she nor passenger Tapia-Nunez would consent to a search. The vehicle was seized and a search warrant was obtained, but Smith and Tapia-Nunez had been released for lack of probable cause to hold them at the time.

The search uncovered seven handguns and a rifle. One of the pistols was loaded and located between the console and front passenger seat, officials said.

Six of the pistols were confirmed as having been stolen in the Worm Ranch burglary in which 25 guns were taken, according to the county Sheriff's Office.

Bail for the suspects, should they be apprehended, has been set at $50,000 apiece.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call city-county dispatch at 527-1960.

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