Chief of Police of Centralia Stacy Denham
In August, there was a podcast between Sheriff Snaza and Candidate Centralia Police Sergeant Tracy Murphy. After the Chief of Police of Centralia Stacy Denham sent an email to Sheriff Snaza asking as to why he did not tell the truth on the podcast. As of this printing, there has been no reply from Sheriff Snaza to Chief Denham.
Chief Denham first stated that he was concerned about how Sheriff Snaza had referred to the Centralia Police Department and JNET (Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team), Chief Denham stated, "I received a phone call today with concerns about information you provided on the Chronicles "News Dump" Interview. I listened to the section where you were talking about me (Chief Denham), Chief Kaut and JNET. I find it interesting that you made these comments about us, but more specifically about not having a conversation with you about joining JNET. This is interesting because the last conversation that you and I had was on June 16, 2022 at our 8:00 a.m. meeting. In that meeting you specifically told me that in January (2023) you would be looking at joining JNET again."
Chief Denham continued in the email, where he discussed turning over 7 grow operations to Sheriff Snaza in 2020. This email from Denham must have prompted Sheriff Snaza to investigate the grow operations as one was just recently busted since this email. Chief Denham stated in his email, "I can provide you with a list of the numerous cases that were turned over to you and/or your department that includes large scale illegal marijuana grow operations you received just after June 17, 2020 and are still being allowed to proliferate in your jurisdiction." Chief Denham then goes on to state that at the time of the email, all 7 grow operations were still operating and that JNET was close to dismantling these grow operations before Sheriff Snaza took the files back. Even stating that two were ready to get warrants within a couple of weeks and be dismantled. The Sheriff's office did not continue to investigate these grow operations, leaving several more productions to continue.
Denham continues, "the statements you made appear to be self-serving towards your election campaign, slanted in your favor and were respectfully, untrue. Not to mention, your comments do not accurately reflect how you left JNET, all the investigative communications and information sharing that JNET Detectives have provided your agency at your request since then."
Chief Denham stated, "what bothers me is that you seem to be talking in two directions. You first make it appear as if you want to rejoin JNET, but a couple of sentences later you make it sound as if having the DEA tied to the unit is a bad thing.... I find this strange because you of all people have continually said that drugs are a huge issue in Lewis County." Chief Denham ended the email with, "Sheriff, your comments in this podcast were not only misleading to your community, destructive to your partner law enforcement agencies, and unprofessional. I would welcome a conversation with you about this topic at your convenience."
On September 23, Prosecuting Attorney Jonathan Meyer sent a letter to the state auditor. The letter states that the "The office received a complaint from a citizen regarding concerns of impropriety by the Lewis County Sheriff's Office (LCSO). This office was provided with an accounting of expenditures by the LCSO." He then states, "This office lacks the investigative authority and subject matter expert to determine the validity of the concerns." The attachments included the LCSO drug seizure funds where the citizen brought up the misuse of over $200,000 in drug funds. The citizen turned in the information to the prosecutor in early August and Meyer forwarded it to the state auditor in late September.
As of this printing, the State Auditor has received the information and the attorney general has been notified of the investigation.
We reached out to Sheriff Snaza for comment and as of this printing we have not received anything.