Drug dealer accused of mistreating Oak Harbor children
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
July 3, 2008 · Updated 10:47 AM
When Oak Harbor police searched the home of a suspected methamphetamine dealer May 31, they discovered two young children living in a dangerous and squalid environment, as well as a victim of shocking domestic violence, court documents show.
The suspect in the crimes, 25-year-old Christopher Rankin of Oak Harbor, is being held in Island County jail on $100,000 bail and is facing the possibility of a lengthy prison term.
Prosecutors charged Rankin in Island County Superior Court June 4 with possession with intent to manufacture or deliver methamphetamine, criminal mistreatment in the second degree and assault in the third degree, domestic violence.
Rankin pleaded not guilty June 16.
The investigation began when a confidential informant purchased meth from Rankin, according to a report by Oak Harbor Police Detective Carl Seim. During surveillance, Lt. Tim Sterkel saw Rankin abuse a pitbull by throwing and kicking the dog, the report states.
The high risk entry team served a search warrant May 31 at the 16th Avenue Oak Harbor home. The officers searched Rankin and found a plastic baggie with a substance suspected of being meth and a glass smoking pipe, the report states.
Inside the home, the officers encountered Rankins girlfriend and two children a 3-year-old toddler and a 5-month-old baby living in squalor that was likely to cause harm or death to his children, Seim wrote.
According to the report, a dead rat in a trap was hanging on the outside of the home; a meth pipe, bleach, sharp objects and detergents were within reach of a child; outlets were protruding out of walls; pornography was on the floor; and the entire home was dirty and unsanitary, the report states.
Rankins children could have easily come in contact with the methamphetamine he had on his person or in the residence. This could have caused harm or even death to his children, Seim wrote.
The detective noticed that the woman had a large bruise on her body. She was very scared to discuss what happened to her, but eventually claimed that Rankin physically, mentally and emotionally abuses her and she was afraid he would kill her in one of his rages, the report states.
The woman claimed that Rankin controlled her every move and wouldnt allow her to drive or contact her family. She was covered with bruises, Seim indicated, and said that Rankin had choked her more than 10 times, twice causing her to lose consciousness.
In the end, Rankin was arrested and the woman and children were offered a different place to live by a CPS caseworker.
If convicted of the crimes hes charged with, Rankin could face from five to 10 years in prison under the standard sentencing range.
On June 16, Rankin was charged with three counts of delivery of marijuana in a separate case. His criminal record includes nine felony and 11 misdemeanor convictions, court documents show.Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.