United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
REPEAT OFFENDER SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR FIREARMS POSSESSION
Everett Man Linked to Gang Investigation Arrested Following Domestic Violence Assault
MATALEPUNA “JUNIOR” MALU, 23, of Everett, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm. MALU was arrested following a January 13, 2011, assault on his girlfriend. When police searched the residence they found a stolen .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun in MALU’s bedroom. MALU pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm on May 20, 2011. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman recommended drug treatment while he is incarcerated and told him, “You have a lot of issues to work on. It’s going to take that long for you to get clean and sober.”
According to records in the case MALU is linked to a gang distributing oxycontin in the Everett area. The gang, called the Waco Boys, repeatedly sold drugs to undercover agents and people working with law enforcement between March 2009 and February 2010. Agents executed search warrants in the gang investigation in June 2010. MALU and his roommates were arrested, but prosecutors did not charge MALU in the drug distribution scheme. Agents found an empty gun box in his bedroom, but no firearm. In January 2011, police were called to MALU’s home after his girlfriend jumped out a second story window to escape his assault. When the residence was searched police recovered various drugs, body armor, and a firearm which had been reported stolen in 2009. MALU has a lengthy criminal history of assaults and weapons offenses, and is prohibited from possessing firearms.
In asking for a sentence at the top of the guidelines range, prosecutors noted that MALU should have learned from the earlier arrests of his Waco Boys associates. “Mr. Malu did not take that opportunity. Instead, he continued to live a life marked by drug abuse, drug trafficking, violence and illegal weapons possession. Barely six months later, he violently assaulted his girlfriend, which was merely the latest in a string of violent incidents over the course of his life. When officers responded, they found drugs, drug paraphernalia, ammunition, and the gun that belonged to that empty gun box found in his room six months earlier,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.
The other members of the Waco Boys gang were sentenced to longer prison terms: Ryan Nicely, 24, was sentenced to 90 months in prison and five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense; Jose Lugo, 28, was sentenced to 48 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release for distribution of oxycodone: and Jonathan Tavares, 25, of Everett, Washington was sentenced to 66 months in prison and five years of supervised release for dealing oxycodone.
The case was investigated by the ATF with the assistance of the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force which includes officers and agents from Bothell Police Department, Everett Police Department and Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi.