FERNDALE - A 21-year-old Ferndale man returning to the United States on the Fourth of July was arrested on suspicion of raping two teenagers and a third girl younger than 10.
Police opened a case against Brandon James John in October 2012 when two girls came forward to police to report he had sexual contact with them.
One girl stated John had intercourse with her twice: once in 2010, again in 2011. John would have been a minor, too. But he can be charged with two counts of rape in the third degree because the girl was younger than 14 - too young to consent to sex, said Ferndale Police Lt. Matt Huffman. (John was born 33 months before the girl. Under state law a 36-month age gap would make it a more serious crime.)
Around the same time a second girl reported John engaged in oral sex with her when she was younger than 10, according to the Ferndale Police Department. John would have been a preteen at the time.
Court records show John had no brushes with the law after the girls recounted their stories in 2012. He evaded detectives' phone calls and requests for interviews for the next 1 1/2 years, Huffman said. And without a confession police struggled to obtain a warrant to arrest him.
In the meantime a third girl spoke with a detective. She said John had raped her after she passed out intoxicated in summer 2011, according to Ferndale Police. That summer she was 18.
Police learned John left on a trip to Canada in June 2014, Huffman said. They haven't been able to retrace where he went. But before the holiday weekend officers got a tip that John might be crossing the border into the United States.
He was detained at a Blaine border crossing in the early morning hours of Friday, July 4.
After an interview by Ferndale police, he was booked into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of first-degree rape of a child, second-degree rape and two counts of third-degree rape.
Superior Court Commissioner David M. Thorn set bail at $100,000. John remained in jail Tuesday. He's scheduled for arraignment on July 18.
Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his Dispatcher Blog at bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher-blog or follow him on Twitter at @bhamcrime.