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Former UP crossing guard pleads guilty to weapons charges

Post by Adam Lynn / The News Tribune on Jan. 12, 2007 at 2:12 pm with No Comments »
January 12, 2007 2:12 pm

Some of you may recall the case of Dana Hulet, the former University Place crossing guard arrested in September and charged with federal weapons violations for allegedly selling a machine gun, silencer and explosives to an undercover officer.

Well, Lights & Sirens has learned Hulet pleaded guilty to two charges in the case and will be sentenced in federal court in Tacoma next month. Those charges – transfer of an unregistered firearm and possession of an unregistered firearm – each carry penalties of up to 10 years in prison.

In previous court appearances, the former federally licensed fireams dealer admitted illegally selling the guns but said he did because he was desparate to raise money for mounting medical bills.

We’ll try to cover his sentencing and provide another update then.

In the meantime, here are previous stories we’ve run on the case:

Crossing guard released

A University Place school staff member accused of violating weapons laws is freed while federal authorities continue to investigate his case.

By Adam Lynn

Wednesday,September 20, 2006

Edition: SOUTH SOUND, Section: South Sound&Local, Page B01

A federal judge released from detention Tuesday a University Place crossing guard accused of weapons violations.

Dana Hulet, 51, will be allowed to remain free on personal recognizance until his case is resolved as long as he seeks alcohol treatment and breaks no other laws, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge J. Kelley Arnold ruled.

Arnold also restricted Hulet from traveling outside Western Washington without the permission of federal authorities and ordered that he live with his sister on Vashon Island while his case moves through the federal court system.

Hulet was arrested last week at his home in the 9800 block of 60th Street Court West after federal prosecutors said he sold a machine gun, a silencer and explosives to an undercover agent. Hulet has yet to enter a plea.

A subsequent search of his home uncovered a cache of explosives, including improvised hand grenades, according to court records.

The University Place School District has put Hulet on paid leave from his job pending the outcome of his case.

Hulet, wearing the blue shirt and pants issued to federal detainees, said little in his hearing before Arnold.

His attorney, Harry Steinmetz, admitted that Hulet sold the weapons but said his client was desperate for money to pay medical bills. Hulet suffers from chronic back pain and an infected foot, Steinmetz said.

“He deeply regrets this,” the attorney told Arnold. “With respect to my client, this is a crime of stupidity. He just did not think about what he was doing.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Gruber argued that Hulet should remain locked up, saying his release would be “dangerous to the community.”

As a former federally licensed firearms dealer, Hulet should have known selling an unregistered machine gun and a silencer was wrong, Gruber said.

Hulet also never asked the undercover agent what he intended to do with the weapons, said Gruber, who added that the former King County fire dispatcher endangered his neighbors by inappropriately storing explosives in his backyard shed.

Hulet is next scheduled in federal court Sept. 28.

Tip leads to arms, feds say

Federal agents find hand grenades at the home of a University Place schools employee. He’s charged with federal weapons violations.

By Adam Lynn And Debby Abe

Friday,September 15, 2006

Edition: SOUTH SOUND, Section: Front Page, Page A01

A University Place school crossing guard was charged with violating federal weapons laws Thursday, and agents reported finding explosives – including 10 hand grenades and the makings for more – during a search of his home, officials said.

Dana Hulet, 51, was being held in a federal detention center in SeaTac for investigation of one count of possession of an unregistered firearm and one count of possession of an unregistered destructive device.

A federal judge will decide Tuesday if Hulet can be released on bail. Hulet had yet to enter a plea, said Emily Langlie, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle.

Federal agents began investigating Hulet – who’s worked as a para-educator in the University Place School District since December 2004 – late last month after a confidential informant told them he was trying to sell a machine gun, a silencer and explosives, said Julianne Marshall, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The informant set up a meeting between Hulet – a former federally licensed firearms dealer – and an undercover federal agent posing as a gun buyer, which led to Thursday’s charges, Marshall said.

Agents searched Hulet’s home in the 9800 block of 60th Street Court West in University Place on Wednesday.

A federal complaint indicates agents found 10 improvised hand grenades bundled inside a Rubbermaid container; three homemade bombs made of PVC pipe; military igniters; and smokeless powders, Marshall said.

They also recovered enough grenade bodies and inert fuses to make 25 more grenades, the documents state.

Marshall would not say what agents think Hulet planned to do with the devices.

Hulet was arrested without incident at his home following the search, Marshall said. He was not home when the search began, she said.

The University Place School District placed Hulet on paid leave Wednesday after being notified that he was under investigation, Superintendent Patti Banks said in an e-mail sent to The News Tribune.

He will be barred from work until the investigation is completed, Banks said.

Hulet passed a background check – which included checking his fingerprints against those of known criminals – before being hired, Banks said.

Checks performed Thursday by The News Tribune turned up no criminal records for Hulet in Washington.

He has worked as a crossing guard and playground and lunchroom supervisor at Chambers Primary School and Drum Intermediate School, Banks said.

He also was responsible for restocking and distributing science kits used by the district’s K-7 students, according to district records. Banks said she has ordered the science-kit storage area locked and the kits checked to make sure they haven’t been tampered with.

“I want to stress that we have no reason to believe there has been any tampering with the kits,” Banks wrote. “We are simply taking what may be viewed as an extraordinary precaution.”

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