Category: Archive

Charges against Fulton are dropped

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

A California judge has dismissed narcotics charges filed against the brother of a leading Portadown loyalist who was arrested after police responded to shots being fired from the house where he was staying.

William James Fulton, the brother of Portadown Loyalist leader Mark "Swinger" Fulton, was being held on drugs charges after police arrested him in Murrieta, California in December with his wife and three other people.

But last week the Riverside County District Attorney’s office said the charges of possession of concentrated cannabis and possession of marijuana for sale were dismissed because of insufficient evidence linking Fulton to drugs found in the house.

"I think Mr. Fulton is bewildered by what has happened to him," his attorney, Gary Myers, told the local Press-Business Enterprise newspaper after Fulton’s hearing last Thursday. "He is genuinely astonished about what has happened to him and he is gratified that he had his day in court."

Myers did not return several messages left at his business number.

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Fulton is still being held at the Riverside Robert Presley Detention Center at the request of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, which charges he overstayed his visa, according to prison officials. He now faces possible deportation proceedings.

An immigration spokesman would not comment on the case until Fulton is transferred to INS custody.

"He’s not yet in our custody. The moment he is, there are a number of immigration implications that will surface at that time," the spokesman for the Los Angeles INS office said.

Fulton and his wife were arrested in Murrieta town on Dec. 16 after police were called to the house where they were staying with friends. His wife, Tania, and another woman in the house allegedly told police that they had been firing weapons outside the building.

After a search, police said they found a cache of small-caliber weapons and approximately 5.5 ounces of hashish and a small amount of meta-amphetamine. According to local news reports, Murrieta police also found an inert rocket launcher and two inert grenades.

Initially, Fulton and the others had been charged with weapons offenses, but prosecutors dropped those charges because of the nature of the devices. Fulton’s wife still faces charges of negligently shooting a firearm and she is being held on $5,000 bail, according to Riverside prosecutors.

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