A Linfield College Public Safety officer, who has been inactive since mid-September, was arrested Oct. 24 and is facing multiple drug charges as a result of an ongoing investigation by the Yamhill County Interagency Narcotics Team.
Aaron Michael Lopez, 30, of McMinnville was arrested at 2:50 p.m. outside of his residence, 1305 N.E. 14th Street, and was charged with unlawful possession of heroin and unlawful possession of methamphetamine, said Consuelo Christianson, the intelligence analyst for Yamhill County Interagency Narcotics Team.
Lopez is lodged at Yamhill County Corrections Facility, and his bail is set at $17,500.
According to Christianson and Amy Kepler, records specialist for the McMinnville Police Department, the case is still open so only certain information can be disclosed at this time.
However, the investigation started with Lopez’s girlfriend Angela Shelburne, 22, a transient. Detectives had information that the two were possibly living together. When the detectives first made contact, they found Shelburne in a vehicle parked outside of Lopez’s residence. Detectives found Lopez inside his home. After further investigation, Lopez was arrested outside his residence, Christianson said.
According to a Yamhill County Sheriff’s media release, Yamhill County Sheriff Sergeant Chris Ray said the case initially stemmed from a long-term investigation of heroin sales. However, when the narcotics team learned of the presence of Shelburne’s two-year-old son, it decided to end the investigation and made the arrests to ensure his safety.
Shelburne was charged with unlawful possession of heroin, unlawful possession of methamphetamine, delivery within 1,000 feet of a school and endangering the welfare of a minor, Christianson said.
The later charges came from a previous investigation, in which Shelburne allegedly sold drugs near a local high school during school hours, according to the media release.
Shelburne’s son was placed in protective custody and Shelburne was lodged at Yamhill County Corrections Facility. Her bail is set at $42,500, Christianson said.
During the arrests, the narcotics team found hypodermic needles, scales with heroin residue and pipes inside Lopez’s vehicle, Christianson said.
Linfield College administrators were notified Oct. 26 of Lopez’s arrest, said Mardi Mileham, director of communications.
According to CPS, Lopez, who is an officer and dispatcher, has been on CPS staff since August 2010. Previously, he held a job with the Spirit Mountain Casino Security Department in Grand Ronde, Ore., for four years. He is First Responder certified and is Oregon State Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) certified.
DPSST was notified within 48 hours of the arrest, leading to Lopez’s suspension until the court process is completed. Prior to his arrest, Lopez was on medical leave since mid-September, Mileham said.
The college does not do random drug testing, but it forbids illegal drug possession and does test on suspicion of any employee. School policies, such as drug testing, are constantly reviewed, Mileham said.
“Linfield is a safe community. The college takes safety and security seriously. We work very closely with the McMinnville Police Department and coordinate with them,” Mileham said.
Jessica Prokop can be reached at email@example.com.