Insitu to pay $25 million to settle accusations military drones were made with used parts

PORTLAND — Aerial drone manufacturer Insitu in the Columbia River Gorge will pay $25 million to settle allegations that its military drones were outfitted with used components instead of new ones.

U.S. attorney Brian Moran said cases such as this one should be seen as a warning to defense contractors that false claims have no place in military purchasing. Moran announced the settlement Tuesday, the Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

The allegations originated with a former Insitu manager, D.R. O’Hara, who filed a whistleblower complaint in federal court and will receive $4.6 million of the settlement. Investigators, who took over the case under provisions of the whistleblower law, allege that Insitu billed the military for new parts and components but actually used less-expensive recycled and refurbished parts.

Insitu said it cooperated with the investigation and that its disclosures to the government met all requirements.

Governor activates Oregon National Guard in advance of possible violence

SALEM, Ore. — Gov. Kate Brown has activated the Oregon National Guard because of possible violence at the state Capitol and elsewhere following the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol last week by a pro-Trump mob.

The Oregon State Police said in a statement Wednesday the guard would be used as necessary, and deployment locations wouldn’t be made public. The Oregon Legislature convenes Tuesday.

“The recent events at our Nation’s Capitol building and at our own statehouse illustrate the need for law enforcement to be prepared and appropriately staffed for any large gatherings,”said Oregon State Police Superintendent Terri Davie, who requested that the National Guard be activated to assist authorities.

Woman pleads guilty to distributing fentanyl that led to death of Bellingham teen in 2019

SEATTLE — A Mount Vernon woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in Whatcom and Skagit counties that led to two overdoses, including the death of a Bellingham 17-year-old in 2019.

Rosaliana Lopez-Rodriguez, 22, faces five to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle, prosecutors said in a press release, the Bellingham Herald reported.

Court records say the Bellingham boy died of a fentanyl overdose in November 2019. Lopez-Rodriguez and her alleged supplier, Giovanni Alejandro Nunez, 21, were charged in December 2019 with possession of narcotics with intent to distribute.

Investigators found a whole and a partial pill near the victim. The pills were designed to look like oxycodone but they were tainted with fentanyl.

Man accused of running over two Yakima police officers is charged with assault

YAKIMA — A 43-year-old man accused of running over two Yakima police officers last week has been charged with first-degree assault.

Prosecutors also charged Salvador Muñoz-Gonzalez with possession of a stolen motor vehicle and eluding police in connection with the Jan. 5 incident, the Yakima Herald reported.

Police were called to a store around 2:25 p.m. after witnesses spotted a Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck that was reported stolen in a Wapato robbery, according to a probable cause affidavit from the Yakima Valley Special Investigations Unit.

The unit is investigating the incident because one of the injured officers fired a shot at the pickup after being hit, YPD Chief Matt Murray said.

Officers found the truck in the parking lot with Muñoz-Gonzalez in the driver’s seat and another man in the passenger seat, the affidavit said. Officers ordered the men to get out, but Muñoz-Gonzalez sped off, striking the side of a YPD patrol vehicle and running over Sgts. Mike Henne and Mark Grow, according to the affidavit.

Henne and Grow, who had broken leg bones after the incident, are recovering at home, city spokesman Randy Beehler said.

Police pursued the truck into Terrace Heights, with speeds reaching 100 mph before the Chevrolet crashed, the affidavit said. Muñoz-Gonzalez was taken into custody and is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail in the Yakima County jail.