News and Press Releases

Discovery of an Improvised Explosive Device Around Defendant’s Neck Led to Evacuation of Busy Intersection in Puyallup

June 16, 2006

JONATHAN MOAMLAE, 27, of Puyallup, Washington, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Franklin D. Burgess to five years in prison and three years of supervised release for being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm. MOAMLAE was indicted in November 2005. According to documents filed in the case, MOAMLAE is a convicted felon and was reputed as a major supplier of firearms to gang members. On September 8, 2005, the Puyallup Police Department received a tip that MOAMLAE had an arsenal of weapons in his vehicle. When Puyallup Police officers conducted a stop of MOAMLAE’s vehicle, they discovered that MOAMLAE was wearing an improvised explosive device around his neck. The device was a small rectangular box filled with gun powder containing a fuse. This discovery led to the evacuation of a busy intersection in Puyallup, and the bomb squad was called to secure the device. A search of MOAMLAE’s vehicle resulted in the discovery of an assortment of 10 firearms, including 2 sawed off shotguns. Almost all of the firearms were loaded. Additionally, officers recovered a large amount of ammunition from the trunk, as well as a dummy military hand grenade, a police scanner, and a machete.

At sentencing, Special Assistant United States Attorney Kent Liu asked Judge Burgess to impose a lengthy sentence, noting that MOAMLAE’s arsenal of weapons posed a significant danger to the community. Two other defendants inside the vehicle have pleaded guilty and are scheduled for sentencing later this month.

MOAMLAE was prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program. Unveiled by President George W. Bush in May 2001, Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a comprehensive and strategic approach to gun law enforcement. PSN is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in America by networking both new and existing local programs that target gun crime and then providing them with the resources and tools they need to succeed. Implementation at the local level -- in this case, in Pierce County -- has fostered close partnerships between federal, state and local prosecutors and law enforcement.

The case was investigated by the Puyallup Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Kent Liu.

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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