PORT ANGELES — An argument at an auto parts store led to the Christmas Eve arrest of a 34-year-old man for investigation of a charge of intent to deliver more than 100 fentanyl pills and illegally possessing two shotguns and a rifle.
Jesse James Johns, the driver of a 2003 Jaguar-S and described in the criminal information as transient, was charged Monday with two counts of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of a short-barrelled shotgun, and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, fentanyl, all felonies.
He was in the Clallam County jail Thursday on $35,000 bail. Johns’ arraignment is Jan. 7.
Police personnel were put on “officer caution” notice Dec. 16 regarding Johns after he fled the parking lot at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, according to a press release.
He drove away recklessly after police found him at 1:05 p.m. asleep and behind the wheel of the light blue car with the motor running, police said.
“In plain view was what appeared to be a sawed off shotgun and burglary tools on the back seat,” the press release said. “Also in plain view was a drug pipe.”
Two hours later, a homeowner reported the car, driverless, was illegally parked on private property. The shotgun and other items seen earlier were missing, according to the press release.
Police were put on alert because of the apparent sawed-off shotgun, they said. Possession of short-barrelled rifles and shotguns is a Class C felony.
Probable cause was issued for Johns’ arrest for investigation of reckless driving and obstructing a law enforcement officer, Police Officer Whitney Fairbanks said in her arrest report.
She and Officer Harold Balderson arrested Johns after responding to a report of a customer at O’Reilly Auto Parts in Port Angeles slamming items on the counter at about 5 p.m. Christmas Eve.
Employees pushed him out of the store and locked the door, according to Fairbanks’ arrest report.
Johns, sitting in the driver’s seat of the car as officers drove up, got out of the vehicle and was arrested after Fairbanks pointed her stun gun at him and told him to get on the ground.
“I could see that there was a pocket knife in his pants but couldn’t see if there were any other weapons on him,” she said in the report.
Balderson used a takedown move to get Johns on his stomach, she said. Johns was told to stop fighting as Balderson handcuffed him.
“Johns complained that he couldn’t breathe,” Fairbanks said in the report. “I requested medics to respond to evaluate Johns.”
Fairbanks said she read Johns his rights and that he said he understood them.
Inside the car, which had a temporary registration, was a rifle on the back seat, according to her report. In the trunk was a pistol-grip short-barrelled shotgun with a 13-inch barrel, a shell in the chamber as well as a sling with additional shells, and a second shotgun with a round in the chamber. Also found was a box of shotgun shells.
On the driver’s side floorboard was a bag that contained 34 individually bagged pills and a cloth bag with about 100 pills, all light blue and stamped with “M 30,” a description that fits pills tested positive for fentanyl, Fairbanks said.
The bag contained “a large crystal substance that appeared to be methamphetamine,” Fairbanks said in the report.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Snipe said Wednesday he did not file a charge related to the suspected methamphetamine due to the state Supreme Court’s State v. Blake decision. It determined people cannot be charged with felony or simple drug possession absent evidence the person intends to deliver or sell the drug.
Snipe said intent to deliver or sell the fentanyl was indicated by the pills being separately packaged.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].