WALLA WALLA - After a monthlong investigation relating to gang and drug activity, police arrested one man Saturday for allegedly selling cocaine and marijuana in a house located across the street from Garrison Middle School.
A SWAT team entered the house at 258 Willard St. at 6:30 a.m. Saturday and arrested resident Roman Garcia, 21, on investigation of possession of cocaine and marijuana with the intent to deliver, according to a Walla Walla Police report and County Jail records.
According to police, "numerous purchases of cocaine and marijuana were made during the investigation by drug detectives from a special teams unit. Police added that Garcia, a convicted felon, was arrested without incident.
A 17-year-old relative of Garcia who is currently incarcerated at the Walla Walla County Juvenile Justice Center was also implicated. The 17-year-old also faces charges of intent to deliver cocaine and marijuana. According to police, the juvenile is already being held on investigation of felony residential burglary and felony possession of a firearm.
A third resident, Priscilla Chavez, 38, was arrested on investigation of possession of cocaine.
The various drug arrests could carry tougher sentences if convictions are made because the house was within 1,000 feet of a school.
Walla Walla Public Schools Communications Director Mark Higgins said he was unaware of any drug investigations in the area, but other school district officials may have been notified by police.
"To find out about a situation like this, and when you have school children that go to school each day near that house, that is alarming. That is a situation that we will closely monitor and work with the police," Higgins said.
Because of the possibility of drugs and firearms, the police raid involved more than 20 officers, including personnel from the SWAT team, the Department of Corrections, Walla Walla Police Gang and Drugs Special Teams Unit, and the Southeast Washington Narcotics Team, which includes offers from Walla Walla, Columbia and Garfield counties.
Items seized during the raid included cash, marijuana and cocaine.