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Five people were in a vacant house. Now they’re in jail

McClatchy

Five Whatcom County residents, including a fugitive, were arrested Tuesday at a vacant Semiahmoo house following an hours-long standoff with several law-enforcement agencies, authorities said Wednesday.

No injuries were reported.

Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo said the incident began Monday when a real estate agent went to a house he was selling and found people inside. He called US Bank and confirmed that no one was supposed to be at the home in the 8400 block of Camas Drive, then called 911.

Sheriff’s deputies drove to the home about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday and saw a woman through a window and a Toyota Tacoma pickup parked in the driveway.

Elfo said the woman ran when she saw deputies.

He said the pickup was registered to Jessie Carol Swendt, 41, of Bellingham, who was wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service on a drug warrant.

Deputies called for help from Blaine Police, the U.S. Border Patrol, a SWAT team and a trained negotiator, Elfo said.

“A crisis negotiator arrived and continued to give PA announcements, advising all occupants that they were under arrest and needed to exit,” Elfo said.

Neighbors and area residents reported on social media and in calls to The Bellingham Herald that at least one street was cordoned off, neighbors were urged to stay inside, and a helicopter hovered overhead during the standoff.

Elfo said five people surrendered over the course of two to three hours.

In addition to the fugitive warrant, Swendt was arrested for first-degree criminal trespass, a gross misdemeanor; and resisting arrest, a misdemeanor.

Also arrested were:

▪  Daisy Jayne Hordeyczuk, 25, of Bellingham, for first-degree criminal trespass, resisting arrest and an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court on earlier charges of third-degree theft.

▪  Brandon Lee Bilyeu, 32, of Blaine, for first-degree criminal trespass and resisting arrest.

▪  Kimberly Ann Swendt, 26, of Bellingham, for first-degree criminal trespass, resisting arrest and for failure to appear in court on earlier charges of third-degree malicious mischief with domestic violence attached.

▪  Derrick Brown, 26, of Bellingham, for first-degree criminal trespass, resisting arrest and a Bellingham warrant for first-degree criminal trespass.

All five were booked into Whatcom County Jail and remained in custody Wednesday afternoon.

It wasn’t clear if the two people with the last name Swendt are related, Elfo said.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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