Man arrested at Thurston County casino after security agents find $66,000, gun and meth

jpawloski@theolympian.comMay 29, 2013 

A 29-year-old Vancouver, Wash., man walked into the Lucky Eagle Casino in Rochester Sunday with a duffle bag containing more than $66,000 cash. He also had methamphetamine in his jacket pocket and a stolen handgun, a prosecutor said in court Tuesday.

Christopher Lathrop, who owns a food truck, according to court papers, was ordered held at the Thurston County Jail after a judge found probable cause to support allegations of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and possession of a stolen firearm. Thurston County Superior Court Judge Christine Schaller set Lathrop’s bail at $25,000.

Lathrop’s mother, Rose Vaida, of Vancouver, was present during Tuesday’s hearing. Outside court, Vaida said her son had called her prior to his arrest on Sunday and told her he had won $40,000 playing at a casino. However, Lucky Eagle CEO John Setterstrom said Tuesday that Lathrop did not win the cash at Lucky Eagle.

Setterstrom confirmed that gaming agents checked Lathrop’s bag when he entered the casino Sunday and found the large sum of cash.

It is not uncommon for “high rollers” at the casino to enter the premises with large sums of cash, Setterstrom said. However, court papers indicate that Lucky Eagle security staff also learned that Lathrop was carrying a firearm while he was on the gaming floor, which is against casino policy, Setterstrom said.

Setterstrom said that even individuals with a concealed-carry permit, or off-duty police officers are not allowed to carry firearms when they are in the casino.

Lathrop told casino security that the gun was a “toy,” according to court papers. However, security determined it was a real .45 caliber Springfield pistol that had been reported stolen in Oregon in late 2012, court papers state. Security also found a small bag containing suspected methamphetamine in Lathrop’s jacket pocket, court papers state.

Chehalis Tribal police were dispatched to the casino and arrested Lathrop.

Vaida said outside court Tuesday that it was her impression that her son had won a large sum of cash at Lucky Eagle. She added that her son had also recently sold a food truck, which may have contributed to his unusually large bankroll.

“He probably just took that money to go to the casino,” she said.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445

The News Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service