Four arrested in drug raid at Samish Way motels

BELLINGHAM - Police arrested four people and seized drugs and drug-dealing supplies during a raid at two Samish Way motels Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 15, according to the Bellingham Police Department.

Detectives from the department's Special Investigation Unit served search warrants at the Aloha Motel, 315 N. Samish Way, and the Villa Inn, 212 N. Samish Way, after a weeks-long investigation into drug activity in that area of the Sehome Neighborhood.

Through informants and investigative work, detectives developed enough evidence for a warrant to search two rooms at the motels. In both locations drugs were found, as well as digital scales and packing materials that would indicate drug sales.

The four arrested in the raids were:

-- William Diaz, 51, who lived at the Aloha, on suspicion of four counts of heroin delivery.

-- Efrain Suarez, 44, a Mount Vernon resident, on suspicion of two counts of heroin delivery and one count of heroin possession.

-- Diane R. Papetti, 47, a Bellingham resident, on suspicion of possession of heroin and possession of suboxone, which is used to treat opiate addiction, along with unrelated warrants.

-- Harvey William Fox III, 24, of Bellingham, on unrelated warrants.

Samish Way's motel row is a frequent hot spot for police activity, with a deadly assault at the Aloha in December and a man who fired a shotgun at police at the Villa Inn in September.

"We're definitely focusing as much energy as we can down there. It's been a problem area for us," Lt. Bob Vander Yacht said. "It's a problem area for the community."