JEROME • Two teenagers are in custody Monday after one of them fired three shots at a man Sunday night northeast of Jerome, police said.
The man was not hit and was uninjured, Jerome Sheriff’s Lt. Dan Kennedy said in a statement. The man called police about 8:25 p.m. Sunday to report three people were on his property near 400 North 200 East dumping garbage, and when he confronted them, one of them shot at him with a small handgun.
“They just started to unload junk out of a trailer,” Sheriff Doug McFall said over the phone Monday morning. “The guy went out to confront them, told them not to dump junk on his property, then one of them drew a weapon and fired three shots but didn’t strike him.”
Police and sheriff’s deputies were on the lookout for a white Chevrolet Tahoe pulling a small utility trailer, and a short time later a Jerome police officer saw the SUV near 900 West Main Street, Kennedy said. After a short pursuit the Tahoe stopped in the 800 block of West Ave H and all three people were arrested.
“They gave themselves up without incident,” McFall said.
A 17-year-old was arrested on charges of aggravated assault and minor in possession of a firearm, Kennedy said. A 15-year-old was arrested on charges of driving without privileges and eluding police.
A man who was with them was released without charges. Both juveniles were being held in Snake River Detention Center in Twin Falls.
The man who was shot at, a farmer who was “really spooked” by the incident, did not know the three people, McFall said.
The sheriff suggested farmers and others living in rural areas arm themselves because there’s “no way law enforcement is going to protect them all the time.”
“I think people need to wake up, start thinking about protecting themselves,” McFall said.
The sheriff added that those living in rural areas should also be careful and not approach suspicious people.
“I highly recommend these folks, if they run into something suspicious, call dispatch either on an emergency or non-emergency line,” McFall said. “We will dispatch deputies out there, and they won’t be in trouble even if it’s nothing. Let us come check things out; the last thing we want is a gun battle out in our county.”
THOMASVILLE, Ga. • Twin Falls BASE jumper Miles Daisher was arrested Thursday in southern Georgia after a fellow jumper died earlier that morning.
Brandon Jackson, 37, a retired master sergeant of the Army, died in a jump from a 2,000-foot television tower near the unincorporated town of Metcalf.
Daisher and Tom Patrick Baker from North Carolina were charged with criminal trespassing and each released on $550 bond, said Capt. Steven Jones of Thomas County Sheriff’s Office. The charge is a misdemeanor.
Daisher told police he was in radio contact with Jackson as he climbed sometime after midnight to a height of 1,600 feet, Jones said.
“Daisher said they heard the chute open with a distinctive ‘pop,’” he said. “Then they heard a twang noise that alarmed them and they figured Jackson had hit a guy wire.”
Daisher and Baker called authorities at about 3:30 a.m. local time after an hour of searching for Jackson in the dark. The search party found Jackson’s body at 10:30, about a quarter-mile from the tower. His chute was attached but tangled in a tree and his body was touching the ground.
“He had been dead for quite a while,” Jones said.
Jackson has family in Michigan but his driver’s license was from Hawaii, he said.
The car the men were driving was impounded. The sheriff’s office has applied for a search warrant and the case will be forwarded to the prosecutor’s office.
“There wasn’t a bright moon last night and there are no lights out there. The tower is out in the middle of nowhere,” Jones said. “I can’t imagine what would possess anyone to think they could jump off that thing in the dark without hitting a wire.”
BLISS • Bernard Saul, co-owner of Saul Farms in Bliss, admitted in federal court on Tuesday that he obtained $1.9 million in padded profits by illegally marketing conventional alfalfa seed as organic.
Between 2010 and fall 2015, Saul, under the name Bliss Seed, sold 7 million pounds of alfalfa seed labeled as organic. Yearly organic certification records Saul submitted to state agricultural officials showed his farm was capable of only growing 35,000 to 50,000 pounds of organic seed annually, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ray Patricco said. He bought conventional seed from four companies he then sold as higher cost organic.
Marketing the seed as organic allowed Saul to charge an average of $3.75 per pound. Saul Farms bought non-organic seed — which was treated with fungicides and pesticides — for an average of $2.50 a pound, according to an affidavit filed by FBI agent Drew McCandless, who investigated the case.
Saul, 58, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Candy Dale in Boise to wire fraud and money laundering. He faces up to 20 years in prison on the fraud charge and 10 years for money laundering. Saul, who was not taken into custody, is scheduled to be sentenced June 7 before Senior District Judge Edward J. Lodge.
“He accepts responsibility for his actions and will do what he can to make things right with his customers,” Saul’s defense attorney, Dennis Benjamin, said.
The fraudulent seeds were sold to five companies: Albert Lea Seed of Albert Lea, Minn., King’s AgriSeeds of Ronks, Pa., Byron Seeds of Rockville, Ind., and Foundation Organic Seeds of Onalaska, Wisc.
Saul agreed as part of the restitution agreement to forfeit a $1 million property in Buhl that includes a residence and 438 acres of land. He also agreed to forfeit ownership in a 2002 Coachman Freelander recreational vehicle, a 2014 Polar Kraft boat, engine and trailer and a 2015 Dodge Ram pickup, all bought with proceeds of the fraudulent sales. He also agreed to turn over an uncashed $90,000 cashier’s check purchased last fall after he and his wife, Roza Saul, learned they were under investigation.
Roza Saul was also charged in the case. She pleaded guilty Monday to a misdemeanor count of selling a product that was misbranded. She is jointly liable for the $1.9 million in restitution for the companies victimized by the fraud. She faces up to a year in prison when she’s sentenced June 2 before U.S. Magistrate Ronald Bush.
Last month, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boise filed a forfeiture action against the Sauls. At the time, neither of them had been charged criminally but U.S. Attorney for Idaho Wendy Olson said they were under investigation.
RUPERT • A Rupert woman whose body was found in her home after a Thursday house fire did not die because of the fire, officials said.
Sue Arlynn Maggard, 77, likely died from a heart attack, Minidoka County Coroner Lucky Bourn said.
Bourn said Maggard’s family provided him with dental history and he obtained medical and surgical records, which were used to verify her identity during the autopsy in Boise on Monday.
The family also provided a detailed description of jewelry worn by Maggard, which was identified.
Maggard had a “known history” of smoking cigarettes in bed, and the state fire marshal found the fire was caused by a cigarette, Bourn said.
Bourn said the cause of death was probable acute myocardial ischemia, which is a heart attack.
He said the cause of death indicates Maggard died before the fire.
The family was given the option of waiting on DNA testing, but based on the evidence provided during the autopsy and the jewelry identification, the family chose not to do the additional tests, he said.
BURLEY • Idaho State Police responded to dozens of slide offs Tuesday morning as an early-spring snowstorm dumped wet flakes on the Magic Valley, but there have been no reports of serious crashes or injuries.
A winter storm warning for the western Magic Valley was set to expire at noon, but was extended until 6 p.m. by the National Weather Service in Pocatello. In Mini-Cassia, warnings were extended into Thursday evening with an extra 1 to 3 inches expected to accumulate.
Minidoka County schools will be closed Wednesday to give the county time to plow roads. Cassia County schools plan to open Wednesday barring any worse weather. The CSI Burley campus will also be open.
An additional winter storm warning for the Southern Highlands was in effect through late Tuesday. Malad Pass, Holbrook Summit, Sweetzer Summit, Malad, Oakley and surrounding areas could get as much as 12 inches of snow, the weather service said.
Accumulating snow could make travel dangerous, especially on bridges, the weather service said.
Those who must travel Wednesday morning should be prepared with a flashlight, food and water in case of an emergency.
Classes were canceled Tuesday for the Minidoka and Cassia county school districts due to snow and the College of Southern Idaho’s Burley campus also closed, but classes remained as scheduled for CSI’s other campuses.
While ISP was dealing with dozens of vehicles sliding off the interstate and highways, county and city agencies reported fewer problems.
“Knock on wood, we’ve had nothing serious so far,” said Jack Johnson, chief deputy of the Jerome County Sheriff’s Office. “We had a handful of slide offs earlier, mostly out in the eastern part of the county. Fortunately what’s on the road is pretty slushy.”
The Minidoka County Sheriff’s Office responded to ten slide offs between 6 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. The majority happened on Interstate 84 and Highway 24.
Rupert Police Chief James Wardle said there have been no reported accidents other than one in a private parking lot.
“Just people getting stuck in the middle of the road,” he said.
Heyburn Police Chief Dan Bristol said there were no reported crashes in the city but there were some power outages.
Jo Elg, general manager of United Electric Co-Op, said the outages were cleared by noon though there were isolated outages in the service area, which includes both Mini-Cassia counties.
“Icing on the lines has caused most of our problem,” she said.
The Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office responded to just one crash Tuesday morning near Kimberly, but it was unknown if weather was a factor. A deputy said it appeared one driver was following too closely and rear-ended another vehicle, but the cause of the crash was still under investigation.
Twin Falls city crews plowed some roads, but the snow was melting so quickly that storm drains backing up was more of an issue than slick roads, city spokesman Joshua Palmer said. The city was keeping tabs on storm drains to ensure they didn’t overflow.