‘Shadow Warriors’ dedicated to fighting rural crime and gang violence in Eastern Washington

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(From left to right) State DOC Officer David Duran working with the West Richland Police Department, Benton County Sheriffs Gang Unit Detective Jared Jech, Benton County Sheriffs Gang Unit Detective Dan Korten, Benton County Sheriffs Gang Unit Detective Abel Saurez, State DOC Officer Ross Esparza working with the Prosser Police Department

It’s well known in law enforcement circles that criminals like to hide in rural Eastern Washington. It’s easy to disappear, no neighbors and the felons can see cops coming down their long driveways. There are great places to run like fruit orchards and open fields along with shops and garages to hide in at a moment’s notice.

It’s well known among criminals that the DOC Officers, Prosser Police, West Richland Police, Benton County Sheriff’s Deputies and US Marshals will find them. “In the most rural part of Western Benton County, there is a 40 mile stretch from Prosser to Kennewick with the small towns of Prosser, Whitstran, Benton City, West Richland, the Badger Mountain Area, Paterson and Plymouth for an geographical area of over 200 miles alone before one enters into the “Tri-Cities”, said DOC Officer Ross Esparza.

Teamwork is the key and the Benton County Sheriff’s Office has formed a specialized task force dedicated to fighting rural crime and gang violence.  They took part last week in the US Marshal’s Operation Violence Reduction 7, a nationwide crackdown. Officer Esparza and his partner Officer David Duran were on a team that arrested 6 violent fugitives. More were caught by the team in the Tri-Cities.

In addition to Operation Violence Reduction 7, the task force also conducted Operation Open House where more than 30 DOC offenders were arrested.

The task force is one of the four core partners in the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force.

Sometimes these “Shadow Warriors” in Eastern Washington seem forgotten. For sure, they don’t get as much attention or credit as their brothers and sisters in Seattle. I am here to tell you they are no less respected. Sometimes, an officer can be 26 miles away from backup. It takes dedication and bravery to continue to fight the good fight. The bad guys may have more country to hide in among the hills and sagebrush of Benton County, but they should always be looking over their shoulder because this team of crime fighters will never give up. Simply, thank you for your service. You are appreciated.

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(From left to right) Benton County Sheriffs Gang Unit Detective Dan Korten, Benton County Sheriffs Gang Unit, Benton County Sheriffs Gang Unit Detective Jared Jech, Benton County Sheriffs Gang Unit Detective Abel Saurez, Benton County Sheriffs Gang Unit Detective Antonio Martinez

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