Crime

Two arrested in Everson on suspicion of trafficking heroin, keeping explosives in home

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A man and woman were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of selling heroin and having explosives in their home on Sable Drive, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

Benjamin Carl Neily, 27, and Sierra Leanne Thompson, 26, were arrested at the house in the 200 block of Sable Drive before deputies with the sheriff’s office SWAT team searched the home with a warrant. Thompson was booked into the Whatcom County Jail around 3 p.m. Wednesday; Neily was booked just after 3:30 p.m.

The arrests came after a four-month investigation by the Whatcom Gang and Drug Task Force, the sheriff’s office said. Throughout the course of the investigation, task force agents working undercover bought heroin from Neily and Thompson at the home, the sheriff’s office said. They were arrested without incident while trying to leave the residence in a car.

Deputies found two suspected pipe bombs inside the home, which were later inspected by the Bellingham Police Department’s hazardous devices unit and found to contain explosive material. Neily later confirmed to deputies the items had explosive material inside, the sheriff’s office said.

Deputies also found three guns – a .22-caliber rifle and two shotguns – and a “small quantity” of suspected methamphetamine.

The sheriff’s office did not immediately say how much heroin deputies found.

Neily was booked on suspicion of two counts of delivering heroin, one count of possessing heroin, three counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, two counts of possession of an explosive device, and maintaining a residence for drug trafficking. He is a felon, according to court records, and cannot own firearms.

Thompson was booked on suspicion of one count of delivering heroin and one count of maintaining a residence for drug trafficking. Thompson has not been convicted of felonies in Washington, according to court records.

Neily’s felony rap sheet in the state goes back to 2012, and includes two convictions for heroin possession and another for gun theft, according to court records.

It’s also not the first time both Neily and Thompson have been arrested together on suspicion of having heroin. In September 2015, sheriff’s deputies stopped Neily as he drove along Mount Baker Highway with Thompson in the passenger seat. Both admitted to having heroin, and deputies found one gram inside the car.

Thompson’s heroin possession charge was dismissed in that case. Neily was sentenced to two months behind bars, according to court records, but did not show up for the sentencing. He’s had an active warrant for that since Nov. 18, 2015.

Neily made a brief first appearance in Whatcom Superior Court before Commissioner Leon Henley on Thursday afternoon. Henley set bail at $100,000.

Thompson was too sick to appear in court Thursday, said Richard Larson, a deputy public defender.

Correction: The name of the commissioner who presided over Neily’s Thursday hearing was corrected on Nov. 11, 2016.

Kyle Mittan: 360-756-2803, @KyleMittan

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