OPNET Arrests Suspect for Third Time – Drugs & Firearms Recovered:
On May 18, 2022, OPNET and the Department of Corrections went to an address in the 600 block of Hulse Road in Port Angeles to arrest 28-year-old Richard A. Welches on an outstanding DOC warrant and three local arrest warrants. Officers made contact at the door and contacted a subject who stated that Welches had been there, but he was unsure if Welches was still home. Under DOC authority, officers searched the residence for Welches and located him hiding in the insulation of the attic area. DOC Officers observed multiple firearms and controlled substances in Welches’ living quarters; Welches is a convicted felon.
OPNET obtained a search warrant for the residence and Welches’ vehicle. An execution of that warrant recovered nine firearms, including a small firearm disguised as a writing pen, pistols, AR-style rifles, and a US Army 66mm LAW rocket launcher. Aside from the firearms, detectives located suspected fentanyl M-30 pills, suspected heroin, suspected fentanyl powder, scales, packaging materials, and about $1,700 in cash. Five of the nine firearms have been confirmed as previously stolen, the other four remain under investigation.
This is the third time that OPNET has arrested Welches with essentially the same fact pattern. At the time of this arrest, he was out of jail on bail for the prior two cases. Previously released information regarding those two arrests follow:
On Thursday, January 14, WA State Department of Corrections (DOC) Probation Officers requested the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office and OPNET assist them with the service of an arrest warrant on 27-year-old Richard Welches for escaping while on community custody supervision.
At approximately 11:00 am, DOC, Deputies and OPNET Detectives arrived at Welches’ residence in the 600 block of Hulse Rd, Port Angeles. DOC Officers contacted a female resident at the front door who confirmed Welches was inside the residence. DOC Officers entered the residence and arrested Welches without incident.
In Welches bedroom, DOC Officers observed suspected heroin and drug paraphernalia. A DOC narcotics K-9 entered the residence and reacted with positive responses to the presence of additional narcotics at locations within the home.
OPNET Detectives applied for and received a telephonic search warrant to search the locations where the K-9 indicated narcotics were located.
During the search, eight individually packaged balls of suspected heroin, Fentanyl pills, suspected LSD, ledgers and digital scales were discovered. The total amount of heroin located in the residence weighed approximately 330.25 grams.
Welches was booked into the Clallam County Jail for Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver (heroin) and Possession of Synthetic narcotic (Fentanyl pills).
Welches was arrested by OPNET at his residence on September 20, 2020 for Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver (methamphetamine and heroin), two counts of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm 2nd Degree, and one count of Possession of a Stolen Firearm. During the search of his home in September, Detectives seized approximately 463.5 grams of suspected methamphetamine, 10.2 grams of heroin, two rifles – one of which had previously been reported stolen, and $14,868 in cash.
The Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team (OPNET) is a multi-agency team dedicated to the enforcement of narcotics laws in Clallam County and Jefferson County. Agencies dedicating investigators to the team include the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, Port Angeles Police Department, Sequim Police Department, United States Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and Port Townsend Police Department. OPNET’s primary focus is removing drug dealers from our community by identifying, locating, apprehending, and prosecuting offenders who deliver illegal narcotics such as heroin and methamphetamine.