Green Hill School employee arrested for allegedly bringing controlled substances in facility


In the latest trouble at Green Hill School in Chehalis, a 42-year-old staff member at the juvenile detention center has been arrested for allegedly bringing controlled substances into the facility, according to the Chehalis Police Department. 

Aaron D. Snideman, of Centralia, was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail on Friday, Jan.19, for possession of narcotic drugs or controlled substances by a person not a prisoner. 

The arrest came after staff at the facility notified Chehalis police of the possible presence of controlled substances on Jan. 17. Green Hill School provided police with evidence and reports, including a “small amount of suspected controlled substance,” according to Chehalis police. 

Officers were then able to develop probable cause to arrest Snideman. 

The case remains under investigation and police say no other information will be released at this time. 

Earlier this month, Senate Minority Leader John Braun, R-Centralia, and Centralia Police Chief Stacy Denham called “the current situation” at Green Hill School in Chehalis “a complete failure, not just for the staff and inmates, but also for communities across Washington,” and again called for additional investigation into the facility in a joint statement.

Green Hill School is a juvenile detention and rehabilitation system in Chehalis that is run by the state Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). Gov. Jay Inslee has previously said the institution has taken steps to improve security at the facility, which has seen heightened scrutiny in recent months.

In May 2023, Denham joined other local officials in a letter to Inslee’s office that asked the governor to direct the Washington state attorney general to investigate the facility, “for their ongoing practices and procedures.”

After a representative for the governor declined and noted recent security improvements, the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team served a search warrant at the facility on Aug. 31, 2023, while investigating whether staff members had provided narcotics to inmates. During the search, officers seized evidence related to the possession and distribution of illegal controlled substances.

“JNET detectives located lockers where Green Hill staff was storing contraband found within their facility dating back to 2017,” a JNET news release stated at the time. “In these lockers, JNET detectives found illegal controlled substances, cell phones, vape pens, improvised knives (shanks), hand written documents arranging illegal drug transactions, and hand tools. The illegal controlled substances include green leafy substance believed to be marijuana, crystal substances believed to be methamphetamine, powder substances believed to be fentanyl, and pills believed to be fentanyl. These substances will be sent to a lab for testing as needed as part of this ongoing investigation.”  

The investigation came after four arrests in November 2022 following the overdose of an inmate who was found unconscious in his cell.

Charges have been filed in multiple cases against inmates following the serving of the warrant.

Following the most recent criticism from Braun and Denham, a spokesperson for Inslee disputed the assessment and said the state DCYF would “soon” provide additional information “contradicting other falsehoods,” including on inmate supervision and a recent incident where “contraband in a football thrown over the fence” was successfully handled by DCYF.

“Outside of misleading politically-motivated broadsides, Braun and Denham haven’t even taken up DCYF on an offer to talk more about their concerns,” spokesperson Mike Faulk wrote in an email Friday. “Fortunately, the state has a healthy and collaborative relationship with others locally, including the Chehalis Police Department.”