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Published: Thursday, August 11, 2011, 5:48 p.m.

Everett man follows gang to prison with 2½-year term

EVERETT -- An Everett man with ties to a street gang whose members have been busted in recent months for murder, drug trafficking and robbery is headed to federal prison for illegal gun possession.
Matalepuna "June Bug" Malu will join fellow Waco Boys behind bars after a federal judge on Thursday sentenced him to 2½ years in prison. Malu, 23, pleaded guilty earlier this year to being a felon in possession of a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun.
Everett police found the gun in Malu's bed during an assault investigation in January.
Malu was accused of attacking his girlfriend. She reported that she was forced to jump out of a two-story window to escape the beating.
Snohomish County prosecutors charged Malu with multiple crimes but later dismissed their case after Malu was indicted on two federal gun charges.
Investigators learned that the gun they found had been reported stolen during a burglary in 2009 in Mill Creek. The pistol matched the serial number located on an empty gun box that was seized from Malu's room during a 2010 raid by local and federal drug detectives. The gun wasn't located at the time. Police also found two magazines for an AK-47 assault-style rifle in Malu's room along with a small amount of drugs.
Authorities raided the Cedar Avenue house and two others in June 2010 as part of a three-year investigation into the Waco Boys. Members of the gang were accused of trafficking large amounts of prescription pain medication.
Nine people were arrested during the raids, including Malu. Three people were indicted on federal gun and drug charges. Those men, Jonathan Tavares, Ryan Nicely and Jose Lugo, have since been sentenced to federal prison.
Malu wasn't charged as part of that investigation.
Three months after the drug raids, Malu was jailed in connection with the Aug. 13, 2010 shooting death of a heroin dealer on W. Casino Road. Two men kicked down the door of the apartment and demanded money and drugs. Alonzo Lopez-Gonzales was shot once in the back.
Malu and fellow Waco Boy Eric "Icky" Lowe were arrested. Malu was later released and charges against him were dropped.
A jury last month convicted Lowe of first-degree murder. He is scheduled to be sentenced later this month. Another Waco Boy, Jeffrey Cleator, pleaded guilty to robbery and burglary for his part in the incident and was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Federal prosecutors on Thursday noted that Malu should have avoided trouble after seeing his fellow Waco Boys sent off to prison.
"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," prosecutors wrote in court papers.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » EverettCrimePunishment

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