Suspected drug dealer faces habitual criminal enhancement

A 40-year-old Gardnerville Ranchos man with five prior felony convictions faces life in prison if prosecutors proceed with plans to seek habitual criminal enhancement.

David Knapp and Crystal Ciccone, 36, were arrested early Nov. 14 in a Special Weapons and Tactics team on their residence. Ciccone's 10-year-old daughter was living at the home.

Authorities believe Knapp was selling heroin from the house. In addition to the drugs and a marijuana grow system, searchers also allegedly found property reported stolen in burglaries. The sheriff's office is working on identifying the owners of the property, which included construction and automotive equipment.

Knapp has been charged with sales of a controlled substance, conspiracy to violate the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, two charges of possession of a controlled substance for sale, possession of stolen property and habitual criminal enhancement.

He is in Douglas County Jail on $100,000 bail and is set for a hearing Dec. 10.

Knapp has 12 prior criminal contacts with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

According to Deputy District Attorney Laurie Trotter, he has been convicted in California and Nevada of five felonies and five misdemeanors since 1987.

They include drug charges, prison escape and burglary.

"It's a discretion of the prosecuting attorney whether to include the enhancement," she said. "We're giving him notice of what he's facing if he goes to trial."

Conviction as an habitual offender carries a variety of enhancements from 25 years in prison to life without the possibility of parole.

With his record, Trotter said Knapp would qualify under several scenarios.

Ciccone was charged with conspiracy to violate the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, possession of a controlled substance for sale, possession of stolen property and child endangerment.

Her lawyer, Kris Brown, said she was still in negotiations with the district attorney's office.

She said Ciccone was in the process of applying for a state-issued medical marijuana card when she was arrested. Officers confiscated seven plants and a grow system.

Brown claims her client didn't know Knapp allegedly was selling heroin from the home and her daughter never came in contact with the drug that he kept in the bedroom.

She also said Ciccone was unaware that tools in the garage were stolen.

East Fork Justice Jim EnEarl released Ciccone on her own recognizance and ordered her to have no contact with Knapp or violate any laws, and abstain from drugs and alcohol.

"I swear on my life," Ciccone said. "After this I am letting it all go. I can't do this any more. I'll lose my daughter."


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