Claremore Daily Progress

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June 1, 2012

Mullin candidacy scrutinized

Confiscation of weapons cache, employee found to be felon during 2009 raid

CLAREMORE — Markwayne Mullin, congressional candidate for Oklahoma’s 2nd District is facing more scrutiny today as the Tulsa World released a story regarding a police raid that occurred at his business on Feb. 23, 2009.

The Broken Arrow Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted a search of Mullin’s business located at 118 E. Elm Place in Broken Arrow and the residence of Timothy Saylor.

Saylor, a supervisor at Mullin’s business, was arrested and multiple semi-automatic firearms, handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were seized from the business, according to BA Police File 09-1366.

Saylor was charged with possession of a firearm by felon, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, knowingly concealing stolen property and obstruction of police.

Saylor, a felon, was previously convicted in California for multiple felonies including possession/manufacturing/selling dangerous weapons, threaten crime with the intent to terrorize, possession of explosive device, assault and battery, threats and assault with a caustic chemical.

Mullin’s employee [Saylor] had a large metal “Sentry” brand gun safe, measuring 5-feet tall and  2-feet wide in his office. This safe contained multiple firearms including a Smith and Wesson revolver that was registered stolen by the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office in Burnsville NC, according to court documents.

A Chinese pistol, owned by Mullin, was also seized during the search.

Mullin stated in the report that “he gave the pistol to Saylor ‘to clean’, that Saylor brought guns to his home to shoot for recreational purposes and that the gun safe was not his[Mullin’s].”

Officers were given consent by Mullin to search a company vehicle that only Saylor drove and found a large quantity of ammunition for firearms not found in the safe.

Federal case File cr-00073-GKF also includes a narrative of the investigation including statements by a known informant to the BAPD who worked at Mullin’s business in Broken Arrow.

Saylor possessed “a large cache of firearms, including shotguns, rifles and pistols in a gun safe located within his office” and  “Saylor appears to be mentally unstable at times and violent and makes threatening comments toward or about co-workers and employees,” according to the informant’s statement.

Additionally, the informant stated concern that Saylor was under the influence of medication and “fears Saylor could become violent in the workplace and use the firearms.”

In a signed affidavit,  Mullin states that he spoke with the BAPD undercover officer at the time of the arrest.

“I asked him how he had information of problems with Timothy Saylor,” Mullin said, according to the filed federal document.

Mullin also identified the name of the “known informant” as Donald Dunlap, a former employee.

Additionally, Dunlap has a criminal record on file with the State of Oklahoma for crimes including threating violence and assault and battery,

Federal documents provide more details as to Mullin’s involvement in the investigation. These statements were additional to the original BAPD report.

“Saylor’s boss (Mullin) told your affiant (an undercover police officer with the BAPD) that he has recently observed Saylor in possession of a shotgun other than the one in the safe. Further, Mullin told your affiant Saylor comes to his home to fire weapons and that Mullins had even given Saylor pistols to clean.”

Mullin also stated that Saylor came to his home on many occasions with his own firearms and shot for recreational purposes.

Mullin initially stated the gun safe belonged to his father but then stated it was not the same safe after the combination he provided did not open it.

Saylor stated that he re-loads ammunition at his home and that he had re-loaded .40 caliber ammunition for Mullin.

Additional weapons were seized from Saylor’s residence including an Izhmash, Model Saiga 12-gauge shotgun. The shotgun is considered to be a “combat shotgun” capable of handling approximately 15- to 30-  rounds of ammunition and is patterned after the AK-47.

Saylor’s wife had hidden the shotgun after she was notified that the police were currently conducting a search at Mullin Plumbing.

The ATF report of investigation 781065-09-0077 details the investigation including a straw gun purchase from the Tromix Corporation of the Izhmash shotgun.

Tony Rumore owner of Tromix was contacted to verify the purchase and was reluctant to issue a formal statement.

“A straw purchase is an illegal firearm purchase where the actual buyer of the gun, being unable to pass the required federal background check or desiring to not have his or her name associated with the transaction, uses a proxy buyer who can pass the required background check to purchase the firearm for him/her. It is highly illegal and punishable by a $250,000 fine and 10 years in prison,” according to www.dontlie.org.

Rumore did however confirm the ATF investigation into the purchase stating, Saylor came into the shop to purchase a gun “for a friend”.

Once Rumore informed him that it was illegal to purchase a gun for someone, Saylor said he would return with his friend, according to Rumore.

Saylor returned and the “friend” purchased the Izhmash shotgun.

Rumore would not release the name of the “friend” but did provide a description of the individual. Upon further questioning Rumore verified that Mullin fit the description.

The Claremore Daily Progress submitted questions regarding this issue directly to Mullin.  Mullin categorically denies purchasing the shotgun for Saylor.

Broken Arrow police officer Major Mike Irwin was interviewed and said that his department did not conduct a formal investigation into the straw purchase.

When questioned why the BAPD did not charge Mullin with providing a firearm to a felon since Mullin gave Saylor guns to clean, Irwin said: “It is reasonable to believe that Mullin would not have known Saylor was a felon. Often times business owners do not perform nationwide background checks on employees.”

Mullin’s campaign released the following statement regarding Mullin Plumbing policy:

“All Mullin Plumbing employees are subjected to a background check. No individual with any felony conviction is hired to make home service calls.

“Mullin Plumbing holds its employees to the highest corporate standards, and we pride ourselves on customer service and safety.”

The ATF was also contacted regarding the straw purchase investigation.

Pete Chisholm Acting Chief of the Disclosure Division would not confirm nor deny that an investigation into Mullin directly occurred or is ongoing.

The Claremore Daily Progress has submitted a freedom of information request for additional documents related directly to the straw purchase, no response has been received at this time.

Saylor pleaded guilty to the charges and served two years in federal prison.

Mullin has stated at multiple candidate forums that he performs background checks on all his employees and “hires and fires right.”

During an earlier interview with the Claremore Daily Progress, Mullin said he did not perform a background check on Saylor and that he came to the plumbing company through a purchase of another company.

“For whatever reason Tim was never background checked, there was no cause or reason to,” Mullin said.

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