Photo: group recently arrested in Lassen County operation
LASSEN – It has been a busy time in court for five Lassen County residents recently. Two were indicted on December 6th, and three others were arrested that same week.
33-year-old Joseph Preston Vanmear was “charged by indictment” with distribution of meth, possession with intent to distribute meth, and begin a felon in possession of a firearm.
During his traffic-stop arrest, officers discovered a .22 caliber rifle and ammunition. His prior felony conviction prohibits him from possessing a firearm. His maximum minimum penalty is 10 years and his maximum possible penalty is life in prison. He also faces the prospect of a $10,000,000 fine.
44-year-old Erika Louise Schmid was also charged by indictment with being a felon in possession of a firearm. A search warrant of her home in October 2018 resulted in the discovery of multiple firearms and body armor.
Like Vannear, Schmid is prohibited from possessing firearms. Her maximum possible sentence is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
In addition, three other individuals were arrested on criminal charges.
42-year-old Darrel Kratzberg was “identified as a long-time source of supply for meth and heroin around Susanville.” He now faces five counts of distributing meth and three counts of distributing heroin. If convicted, he could serve a maximum of 20 year sin prison and a fine up to $1,000,000.
27-year-old Kenneth James Miles is charged with 2 counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Law enforcement caught him selling firearms to an informant. Once again, with prior felony conviction,s Miles is prohibited from possessing firearms. If Mile sis convicted, he faces up to 10 year sin prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Finally, 30-year-old Michael Brandon Spillers was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Rather than selling them like Miles, Spillers was nabbed purchasing two handguns. Like Miles, he also faces up to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
The LCSO says, “These cases were brought as a part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. PSN was reinvigorated in 2017 as part of the Department of Justice’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime.”