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Trouble in King County Sheriff’s Office

One deputy has been arrested and another demoted amid problems within the King County Sheriff’s Office.

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(Image courtesy of King County Sheriff’s Office)

MILL CREEK — A 47-year-old King County sheriff’s deputy assigned to the city of Shoreline was arrested Friday after he rear-ended a car early in his shift and officers responding to the scene said they noticed signs of impairment, the sheriff’s office said.

The accident occurred just before 7 a.m. near NE 132nd Street and Bothell/Everett Highway.

A Washington State Patrol drug recognition expert was requested after alcohol was ruled not a likely factor in the accident, and he took a blood draw from the deputy, the King County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. The deputy was processed and released pending results of the blood test. The deputy was placed on administrative leave.

The driver whose vehicle was rear-ended suffered “very minor injuries,” the release said, but was taken to a hospital for observation.

The deputy is a 19-year veteran.

exdeputySEATTLE — Former King County sheriff’s deputy Mitchell Wright pleaded not guilty Thursday to drug and theft charges.

His bail was reduced from $250,000 to $25,000.

Prosecutors accuse Wright, 33, of stealing between $36,000 and $52,000 worth of heroin and other narcotics during undercover operations between 2009 and February 2013. According to court documents, most of those drugs were never recovered.

Wright was placed on administrative leave from the King County Sheriff’s Office on July 3 after a Bothell police officer found drugs in a truck registered to Wright.  Wright resigned from his position as a King County deputy six days later.

Wright was already being investigated for unauthorized use of federal crime databases.

The same court records reveal that deputies discovered three small plastic bags containing a powder-like substance when they searched the patrol car assigned to Wright on July 20. The substance was later identified as heroin.

Additionally, Wright is accused of not submitting drugs associated with DEA cases into evidence.

wrightSEATTLE — A former King County sheriff’s deputy who was a task force operator for the DEA was charged Wednesday with stealing heroin and other drugs while on the job.

Prosecutors accuse former deputy Michael Wright of stealing between $36,000 and $52,000 worth of narcotics during undercover operations between 2009 and February of this year. According to court documents, most of those drugs were never recovered.

Wright was a task force operator for the Drug Enforcement Administration when the alleged crimes took place.

According to probable cause documents, Wright was placed on administrative leave from the King County Sheriff’s Office on July 3 after a Bothell police officer found drugs in a truck registered to Wright.  Wright resigned from his position as a King County deputy six days later.

Wright was already being investigated for unauthorized use of federal crime databases.

The same court records reveal that deputies discovered three small plastic bags containing a powder-like substance when they searched the patrol car assigned to Wright on July 20. The substance was later identified as heroin.

Additionally, Wright is accused of not submitting drugs associated with DEA cases into evidence.

Wright has been charged with first-degree theft and violating the Controlled Substances Act.

At a court appearance on Tuesday, a judge set Wright’s bail at $250,000. Prosecutors say Wright is a flight risk, having allegedly told investigators that he had accepted a high-paying job in Australia.

SEATTLE — As a reporter with the alternative newspaper, The Stranger, Dominic Holden has had plenty of interaction with law enforcement. But a recent run-in with former King County Sheriff’s Sgt. Patrick Saulet ended up making the front cover of the newspaper.

sheriffThree weeks ago, Holden said he saw a group of officers surrounding a man, and he stopped to see what was going on.

“Saulet was very aggressive when he approached me,” Holden said. “When I tried to take a photo of him he blocked the shot and he had his hand on his weapon. It was clear that either I was going to leave or be arrested for taking photos of police officers.”

That situation is now under investigation by the King County Sheriff’s Office and comes after a long string of citizen complaints against him, 120 total.

“If this was you at work, or I at work, or anyone else, and there were 120 complaints, we would have been fired a long time ago,” said Holden.

A case in December prompted the King County sheriff to demote Saulet from sargeant to deputy. That case involved Saulet getting into a confrontation with an Iraq war veerant and his pregnant wife after the couple made a wrong turn into a Metro bus area near the Convention Center.

Saulet reportedly told the man he could “put his wife in jail” and “take away his daughter” and that the driver needed to “man up.”

In a reprimand letter, Sheriff John Urquhart called Saulet’s behavior “condescending, sexist and discourteous” and that it reflected poorly on the sheriff’s office.

Saulet’s discipline history stems back to 2001 when former Sheriff Dave Reichert ordered him to go to counseling.

This news comes after a sheriff’s deputy was arrested on Monday and accused of a number of crimes. Former King County Sheriff’s Deputy Mitchell Wright resigned in early July after an investigation into his use of department computers.

On Tuesday, he appeared in court on charges including theft, drug possession and tampering with evidence. Court documents show the 10-year veteran allegedly held onto $50,000 of heroin and Oxycodone he was supposed to submit as evidence to a DEA field office where he worked, but allegedly never did.

Wright was also allegedly living with a woman who was an informant. Investigators say they found her shooting up heroin in Wright’s truck in a McDonald’s parking lot.

A judge set Wright’s bail at $250,000.

king co sheriffSEATTLE — A former King County Sheriff’s deputy who resigned in lieu of termination last month has been arrested on suspicion of theft, possession of stolen property, tampering and possession of a controlled substance.

The 33-year-old former deputy’s arrest came as a result of an unrelated internal investigation. He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

This comes as another former sergeant with a long history of complaints has been demoted to a deputy. Patrick “K.C.” Saulet was reprimanded by Sheriff John Urquhart after racking up 120 complaints during his tenure. It is by far the most complaints of any employee on the force. The second most complaints filed against an officer was 23.

The latest complaint came from a family who made a wrong turn into an area reserved for Metro transit vehicles. The driver alleged that Saulet threatened to arrest the family and told the father that he could “take away” his daughter who was sitting in the back seat. The man’s wife was pregnant at the time.

It’s the first time Urquhart has demoted an officer since his election in November. Here is a copy of the reprimand letter he sent to Saulet. We’ll have more on this story on Q13 FOX News at 4 & 5.

Local News
08/19/13

Former sheriff’s deputy arrested on suspicion of theft, other charges

king co sheriffSEATTLE — A former King County sheriff’s deputy was arrested Monday at his home in the Bothell area on suspicion of theft and possession of stolen property and a controlled substance, the sheriff’s office said.

The deputy,  a 10-year veteran who resigned July 9 in lieu of termination, was booked into the King County Jail Monday.  His name was not immediately released, as he has not been formally charged yet.

The arrest came after an unrelated internal sheriff’s office investigation into allegations the deputy was using his work computer to access information outside of policy, the office said.

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