Ex-deputy pleads guilty in meth sting.
A former Coos County sheriff's deputy pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to three counts of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it.
An undercover federal agent and a police informant bought methamphetamine and crystal methamphetamine from 35-year-old Damon Richard Yanes II of North Bend three times between March and May 2004.
Audio recordings were made of all three transactions.
Yanes was arrested in March of this year. He pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Eugene on Thursday to selling just under 50 grams of the drug to the agent and the informant.
Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 7 before District Judge Ann Aiken. In the meantime, he is free on his own recognizance.
Yanes had worked as a jailer for the Coos County Sheriff's Office from at least 1993 until June of 2003. Federal court documents indicate that he began selling drugs after he left the agency.
He was among several people arrested as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration's "Operation Black Ice," an 18-month investigation that focused on a meth syndicate in Coos and Douglas counties. Search warrants were served at several south coast restaurants believed to be fronts for drug-dealing operations.
According to the criminal complaint filed against Yanes, he was the primary target of the investigation, which began in March 2004 with information provided to the South Coast Interagency Narcotics Team by an informant.
On March 10, 2004, a paid confidential source who had known Yanes for several years paid Yanes $800 for about an ounce of meth during a "controlled buy" in the parking lot of the Fred Meyer store in Coos Bay. Analysis showed the sample was 31 percent pure meth.
On April 28, 2004, an undercover DEA agent bought about 1 ounce of crystal meth - a purer form of the drug - for $1,800 from Yanes in the same parking lot. That sample was 91 percent pure meth, the criminal complaint says. Then, on May 19, 2004, the same agent bought 2 ounces of crystal meth from Yanes for $2,600 during two separate controlled buys in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Those samples were 51 percent and 60 percent pure methamphetamine.