Elusive fugitive arrested in Oak Harbor

Officers finally caught an Oak Harbor man they’ve been trying to take into custody since August.

Police officers finally caught up with a 41-year-old Oak Harbor man they’ve been trying to take into custody since August, according to court documents.

Oscar Sampedro was the subject of an Aug. 19 emergency cell phone alert that people in Oak Harbor and the Penn Cove area received while deputies searched for him, but he ultimately got away, according to the Island County Sheriff’s Office. In addition, the Washington State Violent Fugitive Task Force tried to apprehend Sampedro Feb. 28 on a warrant for escape from community custody, but the task force also wasn’t able to find him, according to court documents.

Sampedro’s luck ran out March 9. Responding to a tip, Oak Harbor police officers arrested Sampedro at a Barron Drive apartment. He allegedly put up a fight and was caught wearing a backpack with an illegal sawed-off shotgun inside, the police report states.

Sampedro appeared in Island County Superior Court March 10 and a judge set his bail at $100,000 in a gun-related case and $250,000 in an attempting to elude case. He appeared again Monday, but a hearing to determine if his bail should be revoked altogether was postponed until March 20.

Court documents indicate that Sampedro’s criminal history extends to years ago in California, where he has five felony charges on his record. His first felony charge in Island County was for a 2016 robbery case in which Sampedro and his friend took a man for a ride in an SUV and robbed him at gunpoint before binding his hands with zip ties, according to court documents. Sampedro was convicted of robbery and sentenced to more than five years in prison.

In 2021, prosecutors charged Sampedro with unlawful possession of a firearm after a Department of Corrections officer allegedly found a .380 pistol strapped to the center console of his car, according to court documents. He didn’t appear for an arraignment hearing Nov. 8, 2021 and the judge issued a $100,000 warrant for his arrest.

On Aug. 19, a deputy with the Island County Sheriff’s Office noticed a car with no rear license plate in the parking lot at the Hastie Lake boat ramp. The driver, later identified as Sampedro, allegedly gave the deputy a fake name. The deputy told Sampedro to turn off the car until he was identified, but Sampedro put the car into reverse and fled, according to the deputy’s report.

The deputy followed with lights and sirens activated but ended the pursuit because Sampedro was speeding and driving recklessly, according to the report. Soon afterward, the vehicle was found and Sampedro was spotted in the area of Penn Cove Road and Riepma Lane. The public was alerted while law enforcement searched the neighborhood and beach area, but Sampedro was not located.

Prosecutors charged Sampedro in Island County Superior Court Sept. 29 with attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

On March 9, ICOM dispatch received a 911 text indicating that Sampedro was at an apartment where he sometimes lives and hides out from police, according to an officer’s report. The report indicates that the police also have probable cause to arrest him in a harassment case, in addition to the warrants.

The report states that Sampedro tried to run away from police and fought once he was taken to the ground inside the apartment. The officers cut a backpack and duffel bag off of him in order to move his hands behind his back to cuff him. Officers found a loaded sawed-off shotgun with serial numbers filed off inside the backpack along with a large amount of fake cash that was marked “movie production use only,” the report states.

Police reports indicate that Sampedro was a member of the Surenos gang and goes by the name “Diablo.”