Trial scheduled in burglary at Walla Walla Worm Ranch

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WALLA WALLA — Trial dates have been set for two people accused of possessing six guns stolen in a burglary at the Walla Walla Worm Ranch last month.

Carma R. Smith, 33, of 412 N. College Ave., College Place, and Pastor Tapia-Nunez, 23, 125 S.W. 13th St., College Place, are scheduled for trial March 8 and 9. They pleaded innocent Tuesday in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

The defendants were arrested on warrants Jan. 7 in the 1600 block of Pleasant Street in Walla Walla. They’re charged with possessing the stolen pistols and an amount of suspected methamphetamine in a vehicle Dec. 23. Smith also is 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 Christmas Eve stem from a traffic stop the previous day in the area of North Sixth and Rees Avenue 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 alerted to 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 fully loaded and located between the console and front passenger seat, officials said.

Six of the pistols were confirmed as having been stolen in the burglary discovered Dec. 15 at the Worm Ranch, 1186 Wallula Ave. In all, 25 guns were taken, according to the county Sheriff’s Office.

Bail for the suspects was set at $50,000 apiece.

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