Whatcom County prosecutor 'very happy' about Rodriguez arrest

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDAugust 6, 2012 

More than eight months after a fatal shooting during a Lynden drug deal caused two brothers to flee the country, Whatcom County authorities got the good news that one of the brothers was arrested trying to get into the U.S. Sunday, Aug. 5.

Oscar Rodriguez is in custody in Arizona after trying to enter the country from Mexico at an Arizona border crossing.

Oscar Rodriguez, then 15, and his brother Salvador Rodriguez, then 21, had shown up at a Lynden home in November 2011 to sell drugs to Jeremiah Winchester and others. Winchester had planned to rob the brothers of drugs and money, but things quickly spiraled out of control when the brothers arrived.

Oscar Rodriguez is suspected of shooting Jeremiah Winchester in the face, and he might have shot and killed Jeremiah's son, Jesse Winchester, as he chased the brothers downstairs.

Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney Dave McEachran was glad to hear that at least one of the brothers had been arrested. Nearly everyone else involved in the drug deal and the shooting has been charged or sentenced - except for the Rodriguez brothers.

"We were really happy," McEachran said. "We'd really like to get him back here and get that part of the case done."

Because he's still under 18, Rodriguez will have to go through the juvenile extradition process, and the Prosecutor's Office is still figuring out the best way to get him to Whatcom County. McEachran was unsure how long that might take.

Once in Whatcom County, McEachran plans to move Rodriguez into the adult system and charge him with first-degree assault and second-degree murder.

"Salvador is the next one we want," he said.

Reach ZOE FRALEY at zoe.fraley@bellinghamherald.com or call 756-2803.

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