By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – The two brothers arrested when more than a dozen law enforcement officers swarmed a Jackson Highway house south of Chehalis and seized pounds of drugs will get their chances to make their pleas in court tomorrow.
Randall D. Mauel, 42, and Ryan G. Mauel, 37, appeared yesterday afternoon briefly in front of a judge who set their bail at $25,000 and $10,000 respectively.
The reason for the difference is the younger man has no criminal convictions in his background and the older brother has several prior offenses, according to prosecutors.
Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler was told Randall Mauel has a “pretty decent job” and an address in Pierce County. Ryan Mauel earns about $500 a month doing odd jobs and lives at his parents’ property where the two were arrested on Monday, defense attorney Bob Schroeter told the judge.
Officers found freezer bags containing about $200,000 worth of methamphetamine crystals and two baggies filled with heroin, according to authorities.
The approximately 146 grams of heroin was described by a sheriff’s office spokesperson as powdered and brown but in charging documents as a tar-like substance, with a street value estimated at $11,600.
The raid that took place about 12:30 p.m. on Monday at the 2500 block of Jackson Highway came out of fast-moving investigation by the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force, according to task force commander Capt. Dave Johnson. Officers following up on a tip obtained a search warrant just that morning, Johnson said today.
Johnson said he couldn’t reveal too much, but did know the drugs arrived locally from California within the previous 24 hours.
The Lewis County Regional Crime Task Force and the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team assisted, contributing about half of the 14 law enforcement officers that conducted the arrests, according to Sgt. Rob Snaza.
Snaza is the SWAT leader and supervisor of the local task force.
According to charging documents and Snaza, the SWAT members entered the home through a door inside the carport and confronted the older brother, and then the younger brother who walked out a bedroom.
Two other individuals present were arrested but not charged. Snaza said the subjects were taken into custody without incident and no one else was at the home at the time.
Under a coffee table in the family room, inside a black duffel bag, Thurston detectives discovered the drugs and four digital scales along with packaging materials, according to the charging documents.
One of the bags held seven smaller portions of suspected meth in smaller zip lock-style baggies, according to the documents.
Charging documents state that when “Randy” Mauel was searched, a detective located $602 cash, more than $400 of it in $20 bills. The documents indicate a school bus stopped across the street, suggestive of so-called sentencing enhancements which can be implemented when drug crimes occur near schools or school bus stops.
Also arrested at the scene were Jonathan R. Stajduhar, 34, of Chehalis and Tesa M. Hanks, 34, of Centralia, but they were released from jail without charges pending further investigation, according to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office.
The Mauel brothers were each charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, one for each type of drug. The offense carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The methamphetamine totaled 2.7 pounds, the sheriff’s office said.
They were also charged with a class C felony, unlawful use of a building for drug purposes.
Schroeter indicated in court yesterday the home and property belongs to the men’s parents, the younger brother has lived there all his life and has taken care of his mom and dad for years.
It’s unclear where the older brother resides.
Charging documents say that Ryan Mauel told a detective the two have lived there about a month, and he pointed out his bedroom and said his older brother usually slept on the couch in the family room. Schroeter confirmed Ryan Mauel lives there, but said he took issue with the information that Randall Mauel does.
The sheriff’s office describes them both as Chehalis residents.
Their arraignments are scheduled for tomorrow morning in Lewis County Superior Court.
The younger Mauel is represented by local attorney Jacob Clark, the older Mauel by David Arcuri.