FBI Task Force operation in Yakima County leads to seven indictments

Yakima County

YAKAMA, Wash. — Following several years of operating in Yakima County, the work of an FBI Task Force has led a federal Grand Jury to indict seven separate people across the region for breaking federal law.

Many of those individuals are indicted for actions on the Yakama Nation Reservation over the course of the last several years. Indictments range from illegal firearm possession and drug crimes to sexual abuse allegations.

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“These arrests demonstrate how critical it is for law enforcement to work together,” U.S. Attorney Vanessa Waldref stated. “By combining the resources of federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement through focused investigation and prosecution, we are able to do more to make communities in Eastern Washington safe and strong. The indictments announced today send a clear message that our community will not tolerate drug trafficking and violence.”

As detailed by the Eastern Washington District of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, seven indictments were announced on May 18, 2022:

  • Marcelo Anthony Benson, age 25, of Wapato, Washington, an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation.  In State prison on unrelated charges.  Currently charged with felon in possession of a firearm.

  • Dennis William Chapman, age 62, of Toppenish, Washington. Arrested on May 17, 2022, and charged with two counts of distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

  • Joseph Wade Clark, age 45, of Yakima, Washington.  In custody at the Yakima County jail on unrelated charges.  Charged with two counts of distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

  • Nicholas Medelez, age 33, of Yakima, Washington.  Arrested on May 17, 2022, and charged with three counts of distributing methamphetamine.

  • Sergio Hernan Mendoza, age 47, of Sunnyside, Washington.  Arrested on May 17, 2022, and charged with two counts of distributing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

  • Tiare Aqua Leilani Miller, age 34, of Toppenish, Washington.  Arrested on May 17, 2022, and charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

  • Raymond Holt, age 75, of Wapato, Washington. Arrested on May 18, 2022, and charged with abusive sexual contact of an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation.

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In addition to the seven individuals who were named in the indictment, FBI Task Force operatives are searching for additional fugitives out of Yakima County.

“With violent crime on the rise across the country, law enforcement must come together to combat the root causes of this violence more so than ever,” said Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in the Pacific Northwest. “Today’s arrests demonstrate HSI’s commitment to our daily quest to keep the Pacific Northwest secure by pursuing those who blatantly disregard the health and safety of the community we live in.”

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