Suspects plead guilty to felony drug charges
Three Truckee men have pleaded guilty to drug-related felony charges in connection with a February search of residences across the street from Tahoe Truckee High School that resulted in the seizure of illicit drugs worth an estimated $2,800.
Truckee police arrested four Truckee men after the Feb. 2 search that recovered more than 3 ounces of cocaine and 10 grams of methamphetamine. Gabriel Rojas Salazar, 18, Jose Luis Gonzalez, 41, and Gerardo Morales-Servin, 38, were arrested on suspicion of various drug-related charges including the selling of illegal drugs within 1,000 feet of a school. The fourth man, Manuel Reyes-Correa, 27, was arrested on suspicion of a misdemeanor charge of possession of illegal drug paraphernalia.
The case is serious because of its proximity to the school, said Nevada County Deputy District Attorney William Cornell.
“You have a situation here when even though the amount of drugs recovered was small, it’s kind of like a variety store ” cocaine, meth and probably other drugs, too,” Cornell said.
Truckee police searched two trailers in the Sunset Inn Mobile Home Park on Donner Pass Road on suspicion of drug activity during a search warrant operation.
Cornell said the “piggyback warrant” allowed police to obtain the second search warrant based on additional information that included a tip Truckee police received alerting them to the drug-dealing operation. Police were following up on another drug-related case in the area.
Investigators discovered the cocaine, methamphetamine and other items indicative of ongoing illegal drug sales.
The Truckee men were arrested on Feb. 2 and three of them remain in custody at Wayne Brown Correctional Facility in Nevada City, Cornell said. Reyes-Correa was released from jail on his own recognizance the day following his arrest.
Reyes-Correa pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of illegal drug paraphernalia. The charges were resolved on March 6 with a deferred entry of judgment because the drug charges were minimal and he had no prior criminal record. Reyes-Correa received 30 hours of drug education and a small fine, Cornell said. Reyes-Correa will be subject to additional penalties if another violation occurs within 18 months, he said.
Meanwhile, the men in custody entered their pleas during a preliminary hearing held March 16, Cornell said.
Morales-Servin pleaded guilty to the illegal sale of methamphetamine and faces a state prison sentence of up to two years.
Salazar pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent sell.
Gonzalez pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to sell.
Cornell said a sentencing will likely be scheduled for mid-April.
“I will be arguing for state prison,” Cornell said, explaining that he doesn’t want to see the suspects return to Truckee.
If the case had gone to a jury trial the three men would have been subject to additional penalties, if found guilty, due to the proximity of the school to the illegal drug-dealing operation, Cornell said.
An immigration hold has been put into effect, which means the men can’t be released from custody until the federal government makes a decision regarding their immigration status, Cornell said.
Previous police records are difficult to track down given their unclear immigration status, Cornell said. However, nothing showed up on California police records when fingerprints were taken, he said.
“These are low-level drug dealers,” Cornell said.
The four men are not related to each other. However, three of the men ” Morales-Servin, Salazar, and Gonzalez ” were all living in the mobile home park at the time.
Police now have a greater awareness of the area near the Sunset Inn Mobile Home Park, but the department hasn’t increased surveillance since the drug bust occurred, said Truckee Police Lt. Harwood Mitchell. Lt. Randy Fenn added that there haven’t been any other searches recently in the area.
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Highs for Truckee will almost reach the 90s before falling back into the 70s next week, the National Weather Service said.