Convicted Felons, Drugs, and a Pistol
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Deputies investigating suspicious activity where two citizens reported a male tried to sell them heroin in a store parking lot, stopped the suspect vehicle and contacted the three occupants. During the investigation, a loaded 9mm pistol and heroin were recovered. The driver and front passenger were found to be 5-time convicted felons and prohibited from possessing firearms. Both were arrested for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm 1st Degree. The driver had an active warrant for his arrest and received additional charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance-Heroin and Driving While Suspended 2nd Degree. The passenger had an active felony warrant for his arrest.
On April 30, 2019, at approximately 9:10 p.m., Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Stan Kravtsov responded to a suspicious activity call at the Fred Meyer parking lot located at 12120 N. Division. The callers reported an unknown adult male approached them in the parking lot begging for money. After receiving some loose change from the callers, he walked away. He returned momentarily and offered to sell them heroin. They declined and reported the incident.
As Deputy Kravtsov arrived in the area, the callers provided updated information that the suspect was now in a vehicle, described as a silver Volkswagen. The vehicle began to drive through the parking lot toward Division when another male ran from the store and got in before they drove out of the parking lot, onto Division.
Deputy Kravtsov observed the vehicle exiting the parking lot and got in behind it as it made an illegal turn onto Hastings. Deputy Kravtsov activated his emergency lights to conduct a traffic stop for the violation and to investigate the reported suspicious activity. The driver, later identified as 32-year-old Brandon J. Snyder, did not immediately stop but continued to drive for approximately two blocks before he finally pulled over.
Washington State Patrol Trooper Mendenhall arrived moments later to assist, and Deputy Brent Miller arrived shortly after that.
Snyder said he didn’t have identification and verbally provided his information saying his driver’s license needed to be reinstated. The front passenger, identified as 21-year-old Ezekiel R. Mentell, did not have a seat belt on. A third passenger was sitting in the backseat.
A check of Snyder’s information revealed his driver’s license was suspended, there was a warrant for his arrest, and he is a 5-time convicted felon to include two convictions for unlawful possession of a firearm and one for possession of a controlled substance. Snyder was arrested and placed in handcuffs. During a search following his arrest, Deputy Kravtsov located a small container in Snyder’s coat pocket which contained several small chunks of a brown substance believed to be heroin. The substance was later field tested and showed a presumptive positive result for heroin.
Deputy Miller detained Mentell while Trooper Mendenhall detained the rear passenger.
The backseat passenger, after being advised of his rights, admitted he was the one running from the store because he stole a pair of Nike shoes and three pairs of sunglasses. Later, Fred Meyer employees were contacted regarding the theft. They declined to press charges but asked for the stolen merchandise to be returned.
After obtaining consent to search the vehicle from all three occupants, Deputies located a fully loaded SCCY 9mm pistol, the stolen sunglasses and shoes, and assorted drug paraphernalia items.
Through the investigation, it was learned Mentell is a 5-time convicted felon to include an attempted Assault 2nd Degree conviction, prohibiting him from possessing a firearm. Also, it was determined that both Snyder and Mentell had the pistol in their possession.
The rear passenger was not charged with a crime at the time of this incident and was released at the scene.
Both Snyder and Mentell were transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail. The vehicle was impounded pending the application of a search warrant for items found in the trunk, including a locked safe.
Snyder was booked for Possession of a Controlled Substance-Heroin, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm 1st Degree, Driving While Suspended 2nd Degree and a warrant for Violation of a Domestic Violence Order with a set bond of $5,000. Snyder did not make his scheduled first appearance yesterday.
Mentell was booked for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm 1st Degree and a Washington State Department of Corrections warrant. At first appearance, Superior Court Commissioner Steven Grovdahl set Mentell’s bond at $25,000.
On May 1, 2019, Deputy Kravtsov authored a search warrant for the vehicle, which was granted. During the search, Deputy Kravtsov, Deputy Miller and Deputy Groobin located drug paraphernalia including methamphetamine smoking pipes, Ziploc baggies, pieces of tinfoil with burn marks, a small digital scale and a plastic funnel inside the safe. Both the scales and funnel had a crystalline residue on them. These items are commonly used by users/distributors to package controlled substances. The crystalline residue was field tested and showed a presumptive result for methamphetamine.
Snyder was determined to be the owner of the safe and an additional charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance-Methamphetamine was added to his jail booking.