Manhunt suspect was targeted by police in drug sting
Arturo Garcia, the 31-year-old man West Linn Police arrested earlier this week after a 24-hour manhunt in a residential neighborhood, was lured to the Willamette area in a WLPD drug sting. The sting was not mentioned in the original press releases for the department, which described the arrest as coming after a traffic stop.
Public Information Officer Jeff Halverson maintained that officers stopped Garcia's car at the McDonalds where he planned to meet the undercover officer. Halverson declined to comment further due to the ongoing investigation of the incident.
A message from Chief Terry Kruger posted to WLPD's Facebook page shortly after an article detailing the incident was posted to OregonLive Thursday Sept. 19, articulated the department's apologies for causing alarm in the community.
"Certainly this was not the result that we intended nor desired," the chief's message stated. "A great many residents were (affected), we placed the Willamette Primary School in lockout as a precaution and utilized multiple resources from our neighboring law enforcement partners. In our best attempt to apprehend this suspect as quickly as possible, we requested resources as diverse as Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue's river patrol unit, Portland Police Bureau's airplane and K-9 teams from Oregon City, Lake Oswego and Clackamas County Sheriff's office as well as personnel from Canby PD."
According to Kruger, Garcia was in West Linn to meet with an undercover officer for a drug deal."During the ensuing police contact from that mission, the suspect fled the vehicle on foot and avoided the initial attempt at custody," he said.
The Tidings made a request for the official police report of the incident, but Halverson said it was not releasable at the time because of the investigation, adding that he was unsure how OregonLive got a copy.
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