Shelton felon arrested for plotting to blow up store and gas station as bank robbery diversion

A recently released prison inmate was arrested on Monday for plotting to blow up a large store and gas station as part of his bank robbery scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. LARRY GILLETTE, 53, of Shelton, Washington, is charged with solicitation to commit a crime of violence and being a felon in possession of a firearm. GILLETTE allegedly began plotting the bombings and bank robberies while still serving a state prison sentence for identity theft. After being released from prison on April 14, 2014, GILLETTE described his plot in detail to someone he thought would assist him with his crimes. In fact the person he met with was an undercover officer working for the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force. GILLETTE will appear in U.S. District Court in Tacoma at 2:30 today.

According to the criminal complaint, law enforcement learned that GILLETTE told others in prison of his plan to rob banks in Shelton using bombs at various businesses as a diversion during which he would commit violent takeover style robberies. Following his release from prison, an undercover officer posed as someone who could assist GILLETTE in obtaining weapons and explosives for his plot. On two different occasions in April 2014, GILLETTE was recorded on audio and video describing his plot to the undercover officer as they drove around Shelton. As described in court documents, the plot involved powerful bombs at Walmart, and Arco and Chevron gas stations. The plot allegedly anticipated that while first responders were busy with the bombings, GILLETTE would rob three banks. GILLETTE indicated he wanted the maximum loss of life to occur in the bombings and the bank robberies. At one point in the investigation, GILLETTE took possession of four Glock firearms. GILLETTE did not know the firearms had been modified so they would not fire. GILLETTE was arrested yesterday afternoon when he met again with the undercover officer, and attempted to ignite a car bomb. The “bomb” was inoperable.

Solicitation to commit a crime of violence is punishable by up to twenty years of imprisonment. Being a felon in possession of a firearm is punishable by up to ten years of imprisonment.

The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by the Seattle Safe Streets Task Force — which includes special agents from the FBI and task force officers from the Seattle Police Department (SPD) — and the SPD Major Crimes Task Force. SPD SWAT, the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, and Shelton Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) partnered with the task forces on the arrest and the serving of search warrants.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey A. Backhus.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.

Repeat offender sentenced to 14 years after stealing guns and Marijuana from Grower/Distributor

A federal felon who was still under court supervision when he committed an armed robbery of a marijuana distributor was sentenced to 14 years in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan last week. MELVIN CHARLES SLAUGHTER, 31, was on supervision for a bank fraud conviction in August 2013, when he robbed a Maple Valley, Washington marijuana trafficker. After robbing the marijuana dealer at gunpoint, two of SLAUGHTER’s cohorts were shot by the dealer as they tried to flee. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik noted that federal prosecution of the case was fully appropriate.

“A neighborhood became a shooting range because this defendant and his drug trafficker brought their violent business into its quiet streets,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “This is the fourth case we have charged in less than a year that involved gunfire used in connection with a marijuana business. Guns and drugs do not mix. Those who put lives and community safety at risk will be held accountable.”

On August 13, 2014, SLAUGHTER and three cohorts drove in two cars to the Maple Valley home of a person they knew distributed marijuana. One of the people with SLAUGHTER waited in the car thinking the other three were simply purchasing drugs. In fact, SLAUGHTER and another man robbed the drug trafficker of marijuana and numerous firearms at gunpoint, tying his hands with zip ties. As SLAUGHTER and two others left the house, the trafficker was able to free himself, grab a firearm he had hidden under the mattress of his bed, and started shooting. The woman who waited in the car was hit, as was SLAUGHTER’s co-defendant Ferdinand Clay. Clay was shot in the face, neck and hip but recovered from his wounds. Clay pleaded guilty to robbery and brandishing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and faces a mandatory minimum seven years in prison when sentenced on June 6, 2014.

After shots were fired the robbery team sped away tossing bloodied items from the car, including some of the stolen firearms. They were recovered by police along the highway. The two who were injured went to different hospitals for treatment. SLAUGHTER and the other female member of the robbery crew turned themselves in to police.

The marijuana dealer has also been charged. Jason Loken has pleaded guilty to drug and firearms charges and will be sentenced for his criminal conduct on May 27, 2014.

The case was investigated by the King County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi.

Military explosives training in Satsop this week

SATSOP, Wash. – The Department of Justice, ATF, and military members of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) units are training at the Satsop Business Park this week. The Regional Eduication and Training Center hosts the 8th Annual Raven’s Challenge. Daily helicopter flights, and military activity continue through the week at the base of the Satsop cooling towers in Elma.

Military explosives training in Satsop next week

SATSOP, Wash. – The Department of Justice, ATF, and military members of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) units will be training at the Satsop Business Park next week. The Regional Eduication and Training Center will host the 8th Annual Raven’s Challenge. Around 200 are expected to be training at the site, with daily helicopter flights, and military activity at the base of the Satsop cooling towers in Elma throughout the week.