Police chase in Lander leads to discovery of stolen vehicle and drugs

On October 3rd, 2018 at approximately 1:51 p.m., Lander Police officers were dispatched to Mr. D’s grocery store after there was a report of a female shoplifting.

A short time later, officers discovered a white Buick Regal with Utah license plates, which matched the description of the vehicle she left the store in.

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Court documents show that LPD officers noted a male driver and female passenger in the vehicle. They attempted to pull the Buick over while traveling eastbound on Amoretti Street, until 2nd Street, when the vehicle turned right, failing to stop at a stop sign and nearly colliding with a truck. The vehicle continued to disregard stop signs and began increasing in speed through residential neighborhoods.

The vehicle eventually led officers to Highway 287, where it narrowly escaped “several” head-on collisions with motorists going the opposite direction. The suspects eventually turned onto Spring Valley, a street with a dead-end. After stopping the vehicle in a gravel pit, both suspects exited the vehicle and fled on foot.

LPD officers were able to apprehend the female after a short foot chase. The male suspect was eventually located hiding in a barn, several hundred yards from where the parked vehicle was. LPD was assisted in the search effort through the barn with Bureau of Indian Affairs officers, the Wyoming Highway Patrol, and Fremont County Sheriff’s deputies.

The male suspect was arrested at taser-point by BIA officers inside of the barn.

Both suspects initially would not give officers their correct name or information according to court documents. The male was later identified as California-resident Rigoberto Rossel. The female was identified as Tyneesha Valdez.

While 33-year-old Rossel was being transported to a patrol car, one officer observed him remove one of his shoes. Inside of the shoe, the officer observed a bindle filled with a white crystal substance, he then asked Rigoberto what it was. “It’s fake, but good try though,” said Rossel. Additional bundles of the substance were found in the Buick. It was tested for methamphetamine, bath salts, and heroin, all of which returned negative. Court documents suggested that it was still not known what that substance was.

A registration check of the 2001 Buick Regal confirmed the vehicle had been registered as stolen out of Utah.

Also located in the vehicle were credit cards with a name that did not match either suspect. A backpack in the vehicle had multiple tools including bolt cutters. A white powdery substance was discovered on the bolt cutters. The officer’s “nik kit” tested that powder for methamphetamine, in which it returned as positive. Officers also located a pipe and marijuana in Valdez’s coat pocket.

Rossel has been charged with “Wrongful Taking or Disposing of Property,” 2 counts of “Reckless Endangering,” as well as “Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Police Officers,” and “Possession of a Controlled Substance.”

If convicted on all 5 charges, he could see up to 13.5 years of jail time and a fine of up to $11,750.

Rossel’s preliminary hearing was waived on October 22nd. It will be transferred to District Court for arraignment at a later date.

All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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