Lynden Man Sentenced to Prison and Home Detention for Assault on Federal Officers
Defendant with History of Conflict Drove Truck at Border Patrol Agents
A Lynden, Washington man who was prosecuted in 2010 for interfering with a U.S. Border Patrol helicopter, was sentenced today to eight months in prison, four months of home detention and a $10,000 fine for assault on a federal officer, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L, Hayes. In July 2015, WAYNE P. GROEN, 46, intentionally drove his truck at a high rate of speed towards three U.S. Border Patrol agents who were working on the side of a road near GROEN’s home. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge James L. Robart called GROEN’s conduct “deeply disturbing” and said it was “extremely dangerous, extremely stupid and extremely filled with the potential for dangerous harm to others.”
According to records filed in federal court, GROEN has had a series of escalating interactions with law enforcement over the last six years. In 2010, he was sentenced to 60 days in jail after he shined a spotlight at a CBP helicopter flying near his property, temporarily blinding the pilot who was forced to take precautions to avoid a crash. Even after that conviction and jail time, GROEN did not change his behavior and engaged in various aggressive interactions with law enforcement, culminating in the July 2015 event where he saw the agents working near his property. GROEN got into his truck for the sole purpose of trying to run the agents off the road. GROEN first swerved at high speed towards two agents on one side of the road, and then drove in the lane for on-coming traffic to swerve towards a third agent on the other side of the road. Fortunately, all three agents were able to jump out of the way.
GROEN has been in prison since he was arrested for the assault in August 2015. After GROEN pleaded guilty, he met with representatives of the U.S. Border Patrol to apologize for his conduct. In court today GROEN claimed he now understands the damaging impact of his conduct, and is hoping for a positive relationship with the Border Patrol. GROEN said he is working with his family to ensure they are co-operative with law enforcement in the future. Judge Robart sentenced him to 50 hours of community service as well as the prison term, home confinement and fine. Judge Robart suggested GROEN do some of that community service by telling groups in the Lynden community what he has learned from his criminal conviction.
The case was investigated by the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) and the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by former Assistant United States Attorney Jerrod Patterson and by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg.