PORT ANGELES — A man accused of stealing dozens of guns after ramming heavy equipment into FREDS Guns in April and suspected of ramming a vehicle into a Skagit County gun store in May is expected to face federal charges in the coming days.
State charges against Joey A. Maillet, 38, were dismissed in Clallam County Superior Court on Wednesday so that he could be taken into federal custody, said Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jesse Espinoza.
The hearing wasn’t listed on the court calendar Court records show the notice of issue setting the hearing was filed about two hours before Maillet’s appearance.
Superior Court Judge Lauren Erickson ordered the charges dismissed without prejudice.
Espinoza had been in discussions with federal prosecutors in recent weeks, but said he could not comment on the case.
“We anticipate that he will make an appearance on federal charges in the next few days,” said Department of Justice spokesperson Emily Langlie in an email. “Once that appearance is scheduled, the federal filing will be publicly available.”
It wasn’t clear when Maillet, who is a transient according to court records, would be taken into federal custody. He remained held in the Clallam County jail on a federal detainer Wednesday afternoon.
Court records say that last week prosecutors asked that Maillet’s trial — which was scheduled to begin Monday — be stricken.
Minutes from the hearing say Maillet was “to be released soon,” and that the defense was hesitant to strike the trial date.
Until Wednesday, he had been charged with first-degree burglary, 24 counts of theft of a firearm, first-degree theft and two counts of first-degree malicious mischief.
Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King said that he is not aware of any of the guns in the FREDS Guns burglary being recovered, but said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had taken over the investigation.
“We’re glad they’re making the decision,” to make it a federal case, King said. “It’s a pretty serious crime and that’s the appropriate venue for a crime like this.”
The brands of handguns stolen in Sequim were Glock, Taurel, Walther, Sig Sauer and Beretta. The size ranged from 9mm to .45 caliber.
An ATF spokesperson said none of the guns have been recovered.
Court records say that surveillance video shows a man driving an agricultural front loader stolen from Leitz Farms through the building April 13. Video shows the man running into the building, falling into and shattering the gun display case and loading a duffel bag with 26 firearms.
Investigators said they lifted about 10 latent prints and blood at the scene belonging to Maillet.
“In the video the suspect can be seen moving his hand throughout the bottom of the case, that is filled with broken shards and pieces of glass, to get to the guns below the glass,” the probable cause affidavit says.
The man sustained cuts to his hands and the back of his legs while he was collecting guns and when he fell into the gun case, the document says.
“The suspect can clearly be seen performing this act without wearing gloves.”
Maillet has been arrested in Washington, Massachusetts, Montana, California, Florida, Missouri, Louisiana and New Hampshire, according to records. No record of convictions has been found.
Federal court records show that Maillet — who is both a U.S. and Canadian citizen — was cited twice in 2017 for crossing the United States’ northern border illegally, once in Washington and once in Maine.
Investigators have linked Maillet to another vehicle-involved gun store burglary in Skagit County, which also is in the federal Western District of Washington.
Investigators with the Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives interviewed Maillet on May 15 and searched a backpack that he had with him when he was arrested.
They found a price tag on a box of ammunition from a store that had been burglarized in Skagit County on May 3.
In that theft, surveillance video shows a man repeatedly backing a truck into a glass window of the store and stealing about 19 guns and ammunition.
Investigators also found a brochure that was attached to one of the rifles that was stolen during the burglary.
He has not been charged in the Skagit County burglary.
Anyone with information leading to the recovery of the stolen firearms should contact ATF at 1-888-283-8477 email [email protected], or contact ATF through its website at www.atf.gov/ contact/atftips.
Tips may also be submitted to ATF using the ReportIt app, available on both Google Play and the Apple App Store, or by visiting www.reportit.com.
All calls and tips will be kept confidential.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].