Two Bend residents and a suspected illegal immigrant living in Madras were arrested Wednesday in a traffic stop on Highway 97 south of Bend, police said Thursday.
The driver and passenger were arrested in a recent shoplifting incident at the Bend Walmart, while the second passenger was found in possession of a pound of methamphetamine, officers said.
A Deschutes County sheriff’s deputy pulled over the white 1991 Toyota Camry around 9:40 a.m. Wednesday on Highway 97 near China Hat Road for an unspecified traffic violation, said Bend police Lt. Kurt Koester.
During the stop, 911 dispatchers told the deputy the car was associated with a Jan. 21 robbery and theft at the Bend Walmart in which the suspects threatened to use pepper spray on a store employee, Koester said, adding that no one was injured in the encounter.
Bend police responded to the deputy’s location and, based on their investigation, arrested driver Joshua Joe Joseph Jr., 24, and passenger Melissa Lynn Stokes, 26, both of Bend, on second-degree theft and robbery charges. Joseph was being held on $52,500 bail Thursday at the county jail, while Stokes, also facing a third-degree robbery charge, was held on $35,000 bail.
A second passenger, Carlos Romero Pineda, 36, of Madras, was found to have about a pound of meth in his possession, Koester said, estimating its value at about $17,000.
Romero Pineda also remained jailed Thursday on charges of drug possession, delivery and manufacturing and tampering with evidence. He also was held for federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents as a suspected illegal immigrant, a jail officer said.