Drug investigators sue county, say reputations tarnished

Pierce County Sheriff's Office

Nine former members of an embattled Pierce County sheriff’s drug unit have filed a lawsuit claiming department administrators targeted them to influence the November election and tarnished their reputations.

The lawsuit was filed last week in Thurston County, the News Tribune reported. It followed on the heels of nine $1.5 million claims filed in September on behalf of Lt. Cynthia Fajardo, Sgt. Chris Adamson, detectives Darrin Rayner, Ryan Olivarez, Elizabeth Reigle and Shaun Darby, and deputies Jason Bray, Lucas Cole and James Maas.

They are seeking unspecified damages.

The sheriff’s Special Investigation Unit was disbanded in 2020 amid concerns that some members had violated policies and procedures, including writing fake police reports.

An internal review done by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office found five members of the unit might have violated 45 policies. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office reviewed the investigation, found seven minor violations and concluded most problems stemmed from a contentious relationship between unit members and prosecutors.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department hasn’t made a final ruling on the investigation or review and hasn’t said whether any unit members were disciplined.

Former Sheriff Paul Pastor and Undersheriff Brent Bomkamp "abused the power of their office" to shut down the drug unit "on false pretenses of corruption and wrongdoing that proved baseless" because they didn’t support Fajardo in her candidacy for sheriff, according to the suit.

Officials from the Sheriff’s Department and Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment citing pending litigation.

Fajardo lost the November election to Sheriff Ed Troyer.

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