A 48-year-old Puyallup man has been charged with hoarding so many illegal fireworks authorities said it would take a month to inventory them all.
Pierce County prosecutors Tuesday charged Don Albert Murphy with six counts of unlawful manufacture, sale or offer to sell illegal explosives. Murphy pleaded not guilty in Superior Court, where Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered him jailed in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Murphy was arrested Thursday following an investigation by Puyallup Tribal Police, the Puyallup Police Department, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The case began with a tip that Murphy was selling illegal fireworks and had a huge cache stored in three garages at the River Trail Apartments in the 1600 block of Main Street, court records show.
Undercover investigators arranged for an informant to buy some illegal fireworks from Murphy and watched him for several days before raiding his stash Friday, the records show. Authorities ordered residents of nearby apartments out of their homes as a safety precaution during the search.
Investigators found boxes and boxes of fireworks in the three garages and a van Murphy is known to drive, records state. The fireworks included some items that contained more than eight times the amount of explosives contained in an M-80, detectives said.
“The Puyallup Tribal Police reports indicate that the quantity is large and that it is estimated that it will take a month for the items to be inventoried,” court records show.
Murphy later allegedly told detectives he knew most of the fireworks were illegal and that he has sold them without a license for the past five years, records state.
“He knew that one of the devices like the one he was possessing caused a child to lose his fingers last year,” prosecutors wrote in a probable cause declaration.