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Suspect charged with vehicular homicide of Trooper Gadd, in US illegally

EVERETT—Raul Benitez Santana, 32, the Snohomish County man charged with the death of Washington State Trooper Chris Gadd, 27, entered the United States without permission and was in the country illegally, an ICE spokesman confirmed with FOX13 Seattle on March 5.

Santana
Defendant Raul Santana (left) with Public Defender Max Messinger (right) appearing in front of Snohomish County District Court presiding judge, Commissioner Jennifer Millett on March 4, 2024, in the probable cause hearing involving the death of Washington State Trooper Chris Gadd.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed that Mr. Santana, “entered the U.S. without admission or parole by an immigration officer,” FOX 13 Seattle reports.

First reported by Ari Hoffman, talk radio host of the Ari Hoffman Show on Talk Radio 570 KVI, ERO Seattle (ICE) placed an immigration detainer with the Snohomish County Jail on March 4, for Santana, a citizen of Mexico, who is currently being held on charges of vehicular homicide of Washington State Trooper Gadd and vehicular assault for a subsequent collision with a van carrying six passengers.

A detainer is the primary tool used by ICE to gain custody of criminal foreign nationals for deportation. It is a notice to another law enforcement agency that ICE intends to assume custody of a foreign national and includes information on the person’s previous criminal history, immigration violations, and potential threat to public safety or security.

ICE lodges detainers on individuals who have been arrested on criminal charges and there is probable cause to believe the person is a removable non-citizen. Under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), a person who enters the U.S. without permission—aka border jumping—is “inadmissible,” meaning that they are generally ineligible to adjust status (or apply for a visa) while still in the United States. If the foreign national takes a voluntary departure from the U.S., s/he can apply for admission back into the U.S. after being abroad for three or ten years.

It is unknown if the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office will honor ICE’s request to hold Santana in custody if bail is posted, making him a flight risk. Snohomish County District Court presiding judge, Commissioner Jennifer Millett, on Monday, March 4, set bail at $1 million against Santana for the death of Trooper Gadd. Santana’s father told the Lynnwood Times after the probable cause hearing that he was in the process of finding an attorney and unsure if he could post bail for his son.

Jay inslee
Jay Inslee

On May 21, 2019, Governor Jay Inslee (D) signed legislation making Washington state a Sanctuary State—restricting law enforcement from asking about immigration status and prohibiting both jails and state prisons from complying with ICE detainers. Inslee signed an executive order with similar provisions in 2017.

Senate Bill-5497, making Washington a sanctuary state, passed the House with a vote of 57-38, and the Senate with a vote of 27-21.  Snohomish County lawmakers who voted for the bill were: Representatives Lauren Davis (D-Edmonds), Shelly Kloba (D-Kirkland), John Lovick (D-Mill Creek), Jared Mead (D-Mill Creek), Lillian Ortiz-Self (D-Mukilteo), Strom Peterson (D-Edmonds), Cindy Ryu (D-Shoreline), June Robinson (D-Everett), and Mike Sells (D-Everett); Senators Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens), Marko Liias (D-Mukilteo), John McCoy (D-Everett), and Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline).

Santana first had contact with Seattle Enforcement and Removal Operations (ICE) on October 28, 2013, for failing to appear for driving with a suspended license. According to KIRO7, Santana has multiple run ins with law enforcement, from traffic infractions to domestic violence:

  • Domestic violence assault in King County, May 24, 2019
  • Driving with a suspended license in SeaTac, sentenced to 90 days incarceration with 85 days suspended, October 6, 2014
  • Marijuana possession of 40 grams or less in Lynnwood, sentenced to 90 days incarceration with 87 days suspended, May 16, 2013
  • Driving with a suspended license in Lynnwood, May 3, 2013

Commissioner Millet disclosed that in 2020, Santana was cited for driving 49 mph over the speed limit; in 2015, he was cited for a speed too fast for conditions; and in 2012, for driving 11 mph over the speed limit.

trooper gadd
Trooper Chris Gadd shortly after graduating the 116th Trooper Basic Training Class. SOURCE: WSP Facebook Page.

WSP released the following statement on behalf of the family of fallen Trooper Gadd #927:

“We are working through what is undoubtedly the most difficult of times for our family as we mourn the loss of a loving husband, devoted father, caring brother, beloved son, and committed friend. We appreciate the outpouring of support we have seen from the community that Chris loved and served. We ask the media to respect our family’s privacy during this painful time.”

“Anyone wishing to send cards to the family are asked to address them to the WSP Marysville Office: 2700 116th St. NE, Marysville, WA 98271.”

WSP held an escort of Trooper Chris Gadd #927 on Tuesday, March 5, in Everett passing along State Road 526 and Everett Mall Way.

Washington State Patrol Memorial Foundation Support for the family of Trooper Gadd

The Washington State Patrol Memorial Foundation has shared below four ways community members can make donations for the Gadd family. All of the donations received in Trooper Gadd’s name will be given directly to the family.

  1. Using Venmo, donations can be sent to @WSP-MemorialFoundation. Please note “Trooper Gadd” in the note section. (If last 4 is requested, use 4411)
  2. Go into any Chase Bank Branch and make a check deposit into the “Washington State Patrol Memorial Foundation” account. “Trooper Gadd” should be noted on the check note line.
  3. Using your own bank, you can log in online or through your mobile app and make a donation using Zelle. Donations can be sent to our WSPMF number, 360-597-4411, or email, wspmemorialfoundation@gmail.com. Please note “Trooper Gadd”. All donations received will be held for the family. There are no fees with using Zelle.
  4. You can mail a check made out to WSPMF with “Trooper Gadd” on the note line to:

WSP Memorial Foundation
PO Box 901
Prosser, WA 99350

For any questions, please contact Megan King at wspmemorialfoundation@gmail.com.

6 thoughts on “Suspect charged with vehicular homicide of Trooper Gadd, in US illegally

  • Pingback: Memorial held for fallen State Trooper at Everett’s Angels of the Wind Arena - Lynnwood Times

  • THIS ARTICLE IS GOOD JOURNALISM.
    On May 21, 2019, Governor Jay Inslee (D) signed legislation making Washington state a Sanctuary State—restricting law enforcement from asking about immigration status and prohibiting both jails and state prisons from complying with ICE detainers. Inslee signed an executive order with similar provisions in 2017.

    REMEMBER THE FOLLOWING NAMES AT ELECTION SEASON!
    Senate Bill-5497, making Washington a sanctuary state, passed the House with a vote of 57-38, and the Senate with a vote of 27-21.
    Snohomish County lawmakers who voted for the bill were:
    Representatives:
    Lauren Davis (D-Edmonds),
    Shelly Kloba (D-Kirkland),
    John Lovick (D-Mill Creek) John Lovick served as a State Trooper for 31 years and was named Trooper of the Year in 1992. I wonder how he will attend the memorial and look the wife and kids in the eyes.
    Jared Mead (D-Mill Creek),
    Lillian Ortiz-Self (D-Mukilteo),
    Strom Peterson (D-Edmonds),
    Cindy Ryu (D-Shoreline),
    June Robinson (D-Everett),
    Mike Sells (D-Everett);

    Senators:
    Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens),
    Marko Liias (D-Mukilteo),
    John McCoy (D-Everett), deceased
    Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline).

    Reply
  • How does an illegal ever get a Drivers License to begin with? That should be illegal in itself. Does a licensed illegal alien driver have to proof of insurance in the automobile or is that law waved for illegals also?

    Reply
    • I’ like to know that too, Kevin. Its happening all over the country.

      Reply
    • WA state allows illegals to get licenses. You do not have to get insurance in this state. You just hope you don’t get a ticket. Most states require you to show proof of insurance when you register your car. Again not this state. If officers run someone in other states it shows right on the return that they have current insurance. Not for WA. There are so many things people don’t know about in this state and how bad it really is. I could go on and on about what is really happening behind the scenes.

      Reply
    • Agree with you. Seems that this would be a good place to report an illegal trying to get a driver’s license. If your not here legally, you can’t drive, legally.

      Reply

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