Skip to Content

California fugitive arrested in La Pine guns-drawn traffic stop; several hundred pieces of stolen mail recovered


Authorities allege he stole mail on trip north to visit family member in La Pine

La PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) – A Southern California fugitive visiting a relative in La Pine was arrested in a guns-drawn traffic stop Monday afternoon, and authorities said they recovered hundreds, perhaps thousands of pieces of mail stolen in the area and on his way north from Weed, California.

Around 3 p.m. Monday, the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team, working with Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies and Sunriver Police, learned that a man who was pulled over Sunday night in Sunriver was Jason Douglas Smith, 39, of El Monte, California, who had given a false name and ID, prompting an investigation, Sergeant Kent Vander Kamp said.

CODE Team detectives were utilized due to their ability to locate fugitives and conduct covert surveillance and investigations in various environments, Vander Kamp said. It also was believed that Smith might possess drugs and a gun.

Investigators learned Smith had two nationwide arrest warrants outstanding, one from Los Angeles County as a parole/probation fugitive and another from Kern County, Calif. For possession of dangerous drugs.

CODE Team detectives found Smith and his car, a Chevy Malibu, on Monday afternoon and conducted several hours of surveillance. After he began driving, deputies conducted a high-risk (guns drawn) traffic stop near the Wickiup Junction Store and arrested him without incident, Vander Kamp said. A female passenger in his car was contacted and later released without charges.

The search of Smith’s car by CODE detectives turned up “a significant amount of stolen mail,” Vander Kamp said, including newly issued credit and ID cards, checks and packages from retailers. Detectives collected three large plastic garbage bags’ worth of stolen mail – much of it opened.

“The majority of it was from” the La Pine area, where Smith was visiting a family member on Meadow Lane, the sergeant said. But some came from Weed, Calif., and from Klamath County, including Chiloquin and Crescent. It’s believed most if not all came from unlocked mailboxes, Vander Kamp said.

A user amount of methamphetamine also was found, he said. But while holsters and bullets were found, no firearm was located.

The recovered mail was delivered to the U.S. Postal Inspectors Office in Portland, which is in the process of repackaging and redelivering the mail to its rightful recipients, Vander Kamp said.

Smith was booked into the Deschutes County Jail on 10 counts of mail theft or receipt of stolen mail, one count of giving false information to a police officer and the two out-of-state arrest warrants, for which he’s being held without bail.

Smith was arraigned Tuesday on the initial filing of 11 charges, court records show. He’s due to return to court next Tuesday for arraignment on an expected formal grand jury indictment.

“He’s got a pretty colorful past,” Vander Kamp said, including as a documented member of a violent street gang in Los Angeles.

While the female passenger in the car was not local, the sergeant said, a friend who apparently was with him on the trip might be a local resident.

Article Topic Follows: La Pine

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content