News and Press Releases

SIX SENTENCED IN CONNECTION WITH FORKS, WASHINGTON GUN THEFTS
Men Broke into Hardware Store, Stole Guns and Altered Serial Numbers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 7, 2006

Six men have now been sentenced in connection with the June 14, 2005 burglary of the True Value Hardware store in Forks, Washington. Two of the defendants broke into the store and stole 16 handguns. The men took them to the home of a co-defendant where they used a grinder to obliterate the serial numbers on the guns so that it would be more difficult to trace them to the True Value Burglary.

Within days of the burglary those involved were arrested but only some of the stolen guns were recovered. All six defendants have now pleaded guilty and been sentenced in the case:

WALTER BOYD McILWAIN, 26, of Forks pleaded guilty to Theft of Firearms from a Federal Licensee on January 12, 2006. McILWAIN broke the window in the front door of the store and then went in and stole the 16 handguns and some knives from display cases. He was sentenced on March 31, 2006 to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release.

ALEJANDRO BARRAGAN, 27, of Forks pleaded guilty to Possession of Stolen Firearms on December 6, 2005. BARRAGAN served as a look-out during the burglary and was rewarded with two of the stolen firearms. BARRAGAN was sentenced on February 24, 2006 to 17 months in prison and three years of supervised release.

RICHARD DENNIS MILLER, 21, of Forks pleaded guilty on December 1, 2005 to Possession of Stolen Firearms. MILLER knew about the burglary before it occurred and was given some of the stolen firearms, which he then sold. MILLER was sentenced on February 17, 2006 to two years in prison and three years of supervised release.

BRANDON LEE PENN, 21, of Forks pleaded guilty on January 24, 2006 to Possession of Stolen Firearms. PENN was involved in planning the burglary and got six of the stolen guns. PENN was sentenced on April 21, 2006 to two years in prison and three years of supervised release.

JOSE MENDOZA, 22, of Forks and Neah Bay pleaded guilty on November 17, 2005 to Possession of Stolen Firearms. When MENDOZA was arrested on a warrant he had a stolen gun in his possession. MENDOZA was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and three years of supervised release.

CHARLES CLAY WINANS, 43, of Forks pleaded guilty on February 27, 2006 to being an Accessory after the Fact. It was at WINANS home that the conspirators attempted to grind the serial numbers off the handguns. WINANS was sentenced on July 6, 2006 to eight months in prison and one year of supervised release.

The case was investigated by the Forks Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gregory A. Gruber.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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