Drug suspect headed for district court

Witnesses against drug suspect Leo Osorio-Cahavez testified Thursday that the 28-year-old Indian Hills man sold methamphetamine from his rental home at 902 Peridot Court.

Osorio-Cahavez and four others were arrested Feb. 17 and face multiple charges after officers recovered a half-pound of methamphetamine with a street value of $25,000.

Four co-defendants have pleaded guilty to charges and await sentencing.

Osorio-Cahavez was identified as the ringleader of the operation.

Teresa Castellanos-Padilla, 22, who shared the residence with Osorio-Cahavez and her 3-year-old son, testified at the suspect's preliminary hearing that drugs were delivered to him by two men she identified as Juan and Chuy.

She pleaded guilty to trafficking in a controlled substance and is to be sentenced July 10. She is in custody in Douglas County Jail.

Speaking through an interpreter, Castellanos-Padilla admitted she had methamphetamine in her handbag, but claimed she put it there to keep the drugs away from her son.

She testified Osorio-Cahavez left a plastic bag of methamphetamine on her bed and she hid it under the covers. She said she put the drug in her purse when her little boy came into the bedroom to watch television on the bed.

Throughout her testimony, Castellanos-Padilla whispered "I'm sorry" under her breath in Spanish, at one point directing her apology to Osorio-Cahavez.

"You would rather not testify against him, is that correct?" asked prosecutor Dina Salvucci.

"That's the truth," Castellanos-Padilla said.

She said she met the suspect in September in Carson City and they moved in together in November. They moved to the house on Peridot in December.

She testified she did not use or sell drugs and learned of the suspect's dealings in December.

"I asked him why he sold drugs and he said because he needed the money," Castellanos-Padilla testified.

Retired Tri-Net officer Charlie Poe testified that in addition to methamphetamine, investigators found kitty litter, acetone, a cook stove, plastic bags, methylsulfonylmethane which is a nonregulated veterinary food supplement that Poe identified as a cutting agent in the manufacture of methamphetamine, a fake Nevada driver's license and three identification cards from Mexico for a female.

Two confidential informants - a man and a woman - each testified to separate buys they said were arranged by Osorio-Cahavez. The sales took place Feb. 15, two days before the raid and another arrest at the Home Deport Parking lot in north Douglas County.

Roberto Rodriguez-Meza, also speaking through an interpreter, said he was introduced to the suspect through a friend.

He said he set up purchases while working for law enforcement and admitted that he took $1,000 that was marked for a drug purchase.

He was given $4,500 in marked funds to purchase a 4 ounces of methamphetamine for which he was charged $3,500. He hid the money in his car and it was later recovered.

Rodriguez-Meza was charged with theft and also faces new drug charges in Carson City.

Castellanos-Padilla admitted under questioning from the defendant's lawyer James Boles that she may be eligible for probation if she provides substantial assistance to law enforcement. She faces a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Osorio-Cahavez is the last of five defendants to begin court proceedings.

Co-defendant Coriano Chacon-Hernandez, 31, was sentenced May 8 to five years in prison for trafficking in a controlled substance.

Caterino Vasquez-Esquivel, 22, who also pleaded guilty to trafficking, is to be sentenced June 12.

Marcos Mendez, 29, is to be sentenced Aug. 22 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to violate the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

Prosecutor Dina Salvucci said the testimony was confusing, but argued the witnesses created a roadmap.

"I recognize that (the confidential informants) were not upstanding citizens but that doesn't mean they can't tell the truth. What they said was corroborated by what the officers saw. It is clear when you put it all together what's happening," she said.

At the conclusion of the five-hour hearing, Boles said he didn't hear a "scintilla of evidence" to support the charges.

He called the witnesses' testimony "confusing and contradictory."

"There was no loyalty involved in this situation," Boles said.

East Fork Justice Jim EnEarl ruled there was enough evidence to support the charges against Osorio-Cahavez and scheduled a June 12 arraignment in District Court.

The suspect is charged with two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance (methamphetamine) at more than 28 grams, one count of trafficking in a controlled substance between 14 and 28 grams, one count of trafficking in a controlled substance and conspiracy to violate the Uniformed Controlled Substances act.


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