A 19-year-old Spokane man is in custody after a federal drug informant recorded him discussing how he'd stolen firearms and would "shoot it out with the cops" if he was approached.
Patrick Hayes Wellman was arrested on Friday just yards from Glover Middle School and within 1,000 feet of Shadle Park High School, where he attended, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Hicks.
He appeared in U.S. District Court on Wednesday and is being held without bail at the Spokane County Jail.
Investigators found hundreds of Ecstasy tablets in a safe at Wellman's apartment at 221 S. Adams in Spokane Valley, as well as marijuana on a coffee table and several bongs that "all smelled pretty bad," Drug Enforcement Administration agent Sam Keiser testified on Wednesday.
The DEA began investigating Wellman after a confidential informant told them Friday that Wellman sold large quantities of Ecstasy and repeatably said he could obtain as many pills as he wished.
The informant was to buy 100 pills from Wellman for $450. During a recorded conversation, Wellman allegedly boasted to the informant of stealing firearms; when the informant asked what he would do if stopped by police, Wellman responded "Well, I'm not going to go down easy. I'm going to shoot it out with the cops," Keiser testified.
That comment led police to initiated a traffic stop after tailing Wellman as he drove in Spokane last Friday. Five police vehicles blocked Wellman's car, and he was arrested without incident, Keiser said. He had a loaded .44 revolver in the car, Keiser said.
Wellman called his girlfriend from jail and told her a possible name of the informant, then asked her to inform two of his friends. The informant told the DEA he received a message from an unknown number saying "We know you're a snitch. You're dead."
Asked by Wellman's public defender if the informant, who was previously arrested on drug charge, won't face criminal charges because of his cooperation, Keiser said, "if it's enough to warrant that, then yes."
Wellman faces federal charges of possession with intent to distribute Ecstasy and carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime. He's also charged in Spokane County Superior Court with residential burglary, first-degree theft, second-degree car theft, and six counts of theft of a firearm.