In November, the Lewis County News reported on a drug overdose death in Centralia that had ties to Winlock. After several months of investigation more information has come to light. This was an accidental drug overdose death which could have possibly been avoided had the LCSO acted on an email that was sent to them.
On June 17, 2020, Sheriff Snaza issued a letter to the Chief of Police for Chehalis, Glenn Schaffer and interim Chief of Police for Centralia, Stacy Denham. In the letter, Sheriff Snaza not only drops out of JNET but he also removes their commissions, stating, "As such, LCSO (Lewis County Sheriff's Office) no longer having a footprint in JNET, for accountability and liability reasons, we will have to rescind any of the Special Deputy Commissions for partner agencies assigned to JNET (i.e., DEA, DOC, et.) until such time we would have direct affiliation with JNET once again." The letter goes on to state, "Moving forward, I would request any intelligence on illegal narcotics related activity JNET receives that is out in the County (i.e., outside of incorporated areas of Centralia and/or Chehalis) be forwarded to our Detectives Division for investigation follow-up. In addition, I would ask that if/when investigations JNET works leads them to enforcement action in the County, proper and timely notification would be made to our Detective Sergeant so we can determine the best way to assist JNET;s efforts, if necessary." Sheriff Snaza clearly states in the letter he wants his staff to be made aware of all potential drug busts. In October of 2022, that is what JNET did.
On October 3, 2022, one month before the accidental overdose, JNET Sergeant Tracy Murphy sent an email to Detective Alan Stull and it said:
"Alan, JNET has received information regarding Fentanyl being cooked on Byham Rd. in Winlock. If you would have the detective that you assigned this to contact me and I will provide them with all the information that I have. Due to the extreme danger to the public, if the Sheriff's Office is not able to follow up on this in a timely manner due to staffing levels/work load, I am requesting that you allow JNET to investigate this complaint. I look forward to hearing from you or the assigned Detective."
Nothing was done by the Lewis County Sheriff's Office. No permission to JNET to intervene and no bust by the Lewis County Sheriff's Office.
Lewis County News also reported in the fall of 2022 that there was an email to Sheriff Snaza from Chief Denham regarding seven grow operations in Lewis County. 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 seven grow operations were still operating and that JNET was close to dismantling these grow operations before Sheriff Snaza took the files back. He also stated thata two were ready for warrants within a couple of weeks. The Sheriff's office did not continue to investigate these grow operations, leaving several more productions to continue. One grow operation was eventually busted during the Sheriff's re-election campaign.
While Lewis County is seeing a large increase of Fentanyl along with other drugs, the Lewis County Sheriff's Office has not re-entered into JNET, keeping the jurisdictional issues remaining and making it more difficult for JNET to rid Lewis County of the drug problem. In 2021 there were 26 related drug overdoses, in 2022 there were 31 cases with two pending on December 30.