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Wanted man arrested in swamp near Sumas

KENDALL — A man accused of trying to sell a stolen pickup went trudging through a swamp to hide from deputies late Tuesday, April 8, southeast of Sumas, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office.

David Jesus Hernandez-Martinez, 36, of the Paradise area, had a warrant out for his arrest on a charge of trying to sell the white 2000 Chevy S-10 for $200 cash and a cell phone. He told one potential buyer it was his uncle's old truck.

That man agreed to pay $100 at first, and the rest once he got the vehicle title, according to a deputy's report. But a week later Hernandez-Martinez still hadn't given him the title. He asked for his money back but Hernandez-Martinez said he didn't have it. Eventually the man found out who the truck belonged to — a farming business on Van Dyk Road — and it was returned to its rightful owners.

A felony warrant was issued for Hernandez-Martinez. Law officers went knocking on his door last month but he never answered.

Then deputies were notified around 5:50 p.m. Tuesday of a man running from the Paradise Lakes Country Club on Kendall Road. He fit the description of Hernandez-Martinez.

Deputies and a police dog searched for more than an hour, until sunset, but couldn't find him. At 8:55 p.m. a U.S. Border Patrol agent spotted a man getting picked up by a vehicle on Reese Hill Road east of Frost Road, about two miles from the earlier sighting. The passenger bailed from the vehicle when the border agent turned on his red and blue lights.

Sheriff's deputies called out the K-9 again and, after about nine minutes of mucking through rough terrain, the police dog found the wanted man hiding in a swamp.

Hernandez-Martinez surrendered and admitted he knew about the warrant but didn't want to go to jail, according to the sheriff's office. He's accused of possessing a stolen vehicle, trafficking in stolen property and obstructing law enforcement.

(Note: Not to be confused with this story of a man arrested early Wednesday up a tree in a swamp near Ferndale.)

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