MERIDIAN — Meridian Police detectives on an undercover stake-out Tuesday ended up arresting six people on various drug trafficking and possession charges.
Acting on a tip that drug dealing was taking place in a west Meridian neighborhood, six plain clothed detectives were sitting in four unmarked vehicles surveilling an apartment complex parking lot near the intersection of W. Overland Road and S. Jersey Way.
About 9:30 p.m., according to Meridian Police Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea, the detectives witnessed what appeared to be a drug deal between individuals in two parked vehicles, a white Ford Fusion and red Oldsmobile Alero.
As the vehicles began to leave the area, the detectives moved in. But not before a third vehicle -– a silver Buick LeSabre –- approached and “the driver rammed the Alero, trying to run the occupants of the Alero off the road, near the intersection of Overland and Linder Roads,” Basterrechea said.
Detectives were able to stop the two vehicles.
They arrested Stevie DeFrance, 25, of Meridian -- who Basterrechea identified as the driver of the LeSabre –- for felony aggravated assault. They also arrested DeFrane’s passenger, Karina Gutierrez, 24, of Nampa for felony possession of a controlled substance. “Detectives found a small amount of heroin in her purse,” Basterrechea said.
Investigators also arrested both Taylor Turnbull, 22 of Greenleaf, who police say was the driver of the Alero, and his passenger, Seth DeBoer, 27, of Nampa for felony possession of a controlled substance. “We found 1.9 grams of heroin on Turnbull and burnt residue in their vehicle that tested positive for heroin,” Basterrechea said.
Detectives were also able to stop the Ford Fusion as the driver was leaving the parking lot. Shadi Wolborne, 24 of Meridian was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia and her passenger, Robert Cockerell, 31, of Meridian was arrested for assaulting an officer when he allegedly fought with the detectives as they were trying to remove him from the vehicle. Cockerell also faces heroin trafficking and possession of drug paraphernalia charges, after police say they found over eight grams of heroin, a digital scale, and $830 in cash in the vehicle.
Basterrechea characterized the arrests as “very unusual. We certainly don’t see something like this every day -– where a) a drug deal occurs right in the presence of our undercover detectives and b) where a third party suddenly becomes involved.”
Investigators believe the occupants of the LeSabre were upset over being “ripped off in a drug deal,” Basterrechea stated.
Police are considering seizing the vehicles, since all three were used during commission of a felony drug crime, he added.