Covington felon caught luring bear faces hard time

Man sentenced to 5-year prison term

May 6, 2011

UPDATE: U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo Martinez on Friday morning sentenced Ajan Escudero to five years in prison. Martinez noted that Escudero’s “love of guns overcomes everything in his life. … (He) has not learned that he can have nothing to do with weapons.”

What began as an attempt to poach a bear will likely end with a Covington man – a convicted felon with a burgeoning gun collection – residing in federal prison.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife officers arrested Ajan Escudero and two other men in December following reports that someone was hunting out of season near Tahoma National Cemetery, located in unincorporated King County near Covington.

Had he not been previously convicted of counterfeiting and, afterward, gun possession, Escudero, 31, would have likely been fined and sent on his way after he was caught attempting to lure a bear near Tahoma National Cemetery.

Instead, officers arrested him and, in a search of his bedroom, found 3,600 rounds of ammunition, several large capacity magazines and nine guns. Also found were several police patches, a set of body armor and a Kevlar helmet.

Portrayed by federal prosecutors as a flagrant violator of firearms laws – he has two juvenile firearms law violations, and was convicted of gun possession again in 2003 – Escudero described himself to the court as a country boy who simply enjoyed hunting and didn’t realize the consequences of his crime.

“I told myself it was a victimless crime since I wasn’t out selling drugs, robbing people or doing drivebys,” Escudero told the court. “I honestly viewed myself as a patriot that would defend and or provide from my family and country.

As a juvenile, Hobbs noted, Escudero was cited for bringing a firearm onto school grounds and for unlawful gun possession. At age 20, he was caught selling counterfeit currency and subsequently convicted in federal court.

In 2002, Escudero was again caught with a gun, as well as a scale and a small amount of marijuana. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail following a state conviction in the case, as well as a year in prison for violating conditions of his parole related to the counterfeiting case.


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