Defendant downplays role in drug sale

District Judge Michael Gibbons sentenced a 31-year-old Indian Hills man to five years in Nevada State Prison for his part in the attempted sale of a half pound of methamphetamine worth $25,000.

Coriano Chacon-Hernandez must serve a minimum of 13 months before he is eligible for parole.

He pleaded guilty to trafficking in a controlled substance, although he said his role was minimal.

Speaking through an interpreter, Chacon-Hernandez asked for probation but he was ineligible.

"I swear if you deport me, I will never come back to this country," he said. "If I got caught again, I know I would do more time in prison."

Chacon-Hernandez and four others were arrested Feb. 17 in a raid on a residence at 902 Peridot Court in Indian Hills.

Prosecutor Mark Jackson said the arrest represented the transition in methamphetamine sales from homemade labs to Mexican nationals moving quantities of the drug through the West and Northern Nevada.

"This is a common-type case that Tri-Net, Slednet and the Street Enforcement Team are seeing," Jackson said.

"In this particular case, there were numerous drug deals over four days, The defendant was involved in the fourth day," he said.

Jackson said Chacon-Hernandez received a substantial break when charges against him were reduced or dismissed.

"Had he been convicted at trial, he was facing 10 years to life or 10-25 years on the original charge," Jackson said.

Chacon's lawyer, Jack Sheehan, said his client was the first of the defendants to admit his guilt.

Sheehan said Chacon-Hernandez's offer to provide information to law enforcement was turned down.

"If he was on the team, he sat on the bench," Sheehan said. "He wasn't the quarterback, he may have been the waterboy."

"Although you didn't actively help, the court believes you were there to assist," Gibbons said. "Certain crimes can't happen unless multiple people help. The drug deal wouldn't have happened without you."

Co-defendant Caterino Vasquez-Esquivel is to be sentenced by Gibbons on the same charge June 12.

Vasquez-Esquivel was accused of driving a truck in which Chacon-Hernandez was a passenger to deliver the methamphetamine for sale.

If Vasquez-Esquivel can show he provided substantial assistance to law enforcement, he may be eligible for probation.

"There is no guarantee you will get it," Gibbons told him May 1.

Like his co-defendant, Vasquez-Esquivel claimed he didn't know what was going on.

"I was under the influence of drugs at that time. I didn't know what I was doing," he said.


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