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WSP trooper in training’s traffic stop leads to known gang member’s arrest

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Just before 1am, on Sunday, September 25th, a Washington State Patrol field training officer was with a trooper who conducted a traffic stop on W Bakerview Road near Meridian Street. About an hour later a known gang member and suspect in multiple felony firearm crimes was in custody and remains in custody pending being able to post a $200,000 bond.

According to an affidavit for probable cause for arrest filed by prosecutors in Whatcom County Superior Court, the car came to a stop as soon as the WSP trooper activated hist emergency lights. The troopers approached the 4 males in the car and found a juvenile male sitting on his father’s lap. The field training officer recognized the father from prior contacts and identified him as Eric Miranda, age 26, a known gang member and convicted felon who has had firearms inside vehicles when contacted by law enforcement.

The driver was determined to be in violation of a Department of Corrections order in Yakima County. He followed the trooper’s directions to exit the vehicle and granted permission to search it. The other passengers, ages 16 and 38, followed directions to leave the car and empty their pockets but Miranda initially did not.

The trooper moved to Miranda’s door, noting a backpack set at his feet, and again asked him to exit the car. He did get out and when asked to empty his pockets, he refused. He then walked away from the traffic stop while carrying his son.

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A search of the vehicle by a Bellingham Police Department (BPD) officer and WSP trooper found a loaded .38 Smith & Wesson revolver inside the backpack accompanied by Miranda’s state-issued ID card.

Other BPD officers in the area were notified there was reason to arrest Miranda for possessing the weapon. They located him walking on Meridian Street and instructed him to stop. Instead, he placed his son on the ground and fled on foot. He was taken into custody and subsequent search uncovered 2 knives and about 40 blue “M30” pills that were believed to be counterfeit oxycodone and commonly laced with fentanyl.

Miranda was arrested and booked into the Whatcom County Jail charged with possession of a counterfeit controlled substance and unlawful possession of a firearm.

At Miranda’s preliminary hearing, prosecutors requested bail be set at $200,000 and the defense asked that it be set at $25,000 with a cash alternative. The court set bail at $200,000.

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At the time of his arrest, Miranda was out on bail while awaiting trial in 3 other cases in Superior Court where he is charged with suspicion of felony charges that include possession of a stolen firearm and 4 counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.

As of September 30th, Miranda remains in custody pending being able to post the $200,000 bond.

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