Jury Convicts Jereb of Assault on a Federal Officer, Possession of Methamphetamine, Heroin
SALT LAKE CITY -- Sentencing is set for June 30, 2016, for Arron B. Jereb, age 34, of Wyoming, convicted of assault on a federal officer, possession of methamphetamine and heroin, and possession of drug paraphernalia by a federal jury following a four-day trial in federal court last week. The jury made a specific finding as a part of its verdict on the assault count that Jereb forcibly opposed the officer, subjecting him to a potential 20-year prison sentence. He was acquitted of harming a law enforcement animal and possession of marijuana.
U.S. Attorney John W. Huber said the conduct in this case is something federal prosecutors take very seriously. “Our law enforcement officers put themselves in harm’s way every day to ensure the safety and security of our communities. We will do everything we can to protect them, including the aggressive prosecution of those individuals who put officers’ lives at risk.” Huber said.
The convictions stem from an Oct, 15, 2015, incident on U.S. Forest Service land in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Salt Lake County. Just after 9 p.m., a Forest Service law enforcement officer initiated contact with two individuals in a red 1994 Chevrolet Blazer parked in a pull off area in Lambs Canyon. Jereb was a passenger in the car driven by Amber Haanpaa. Following an investigation that turned up methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the car, the officer issued them mandatory appearance citations to appear in federal court.
After the suspects were released and the officer jump-started the defendant’s car battery, a series of events put the officer in fear for his safety. He called for backup officers over his radio. The defendant told the officer they would not get there in time. The officer commanded Jereb to back up and then remotely deployed his police service dog, Livo, from his patrol vehicle.
During the next several minutes, the defendant assaulted the Forest Service officer resulting in bodily injury to the officer. Livo was also injured during the incident. After continuing to fight and resist the officer, the defendant eventually escaped over the ledge of a steep embankment by the road. He was later found by responding officers who arrived on the scene to assist the Forest Service officer.
The potential maximum penalty for assault on a federal officer with a specific verdict of forcibly opposed is 20 years in prison. Possession of methamphetamine and possession of heroin have a potential one-year jail sentence for each count. The maximum penalty for possession of drug paraphernalia is six months in jail. Jereb is in custody pending sentencing.