Authorities seize half-pound of meth in sting
Five people arrested in an Indian Hills drug sting are scheduled to appear in East Fork Justice Court today.
All five appeared in court on Tuesday after they were arrested for allegedly trying to sell a half-pound of methamphetamine, worth $25,000 on the street, which was seized by officers on Friday morning.
Douglas County Sheriff’s investigators of the street enforcement team and members of the Tri-NET Narcotics task force served a search warrant on a home at 902 Peridot Court.
Four men were arrested at the Home Depot in Indian Hills. A woman was arrested at the home on Peridot. A 2-year-old boy was in the home.
According to sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Tom Mezzetta, investigators seized a vehicle and $1,200 in cash during the arrest. He said the occupants of the home were preparing to set up counter surveillance to warn them of impending narcotics raids.
Arrested at the home improvement store were:
n Marco Mendez, 29, on charges of trafficking in methamphetamine and conspiracy to violate the controlled substances act. His bail is set at $110,000
n Leo Osorio Cahvez, 28, on four counts of trafficking and possession of paraphernalia. His bail is set at $260,000.
n Coriano Chacon-Hernandez, 31, on two counts of trafficking and one count of conspiracy to violate the controlled substances act. His bail is set at $135,000.
n Catarino Vasquez-Esquivel, 27, on two counts of trafficking and one count of conspiracy to violate the controlled substances act. His bail is set at $63,000.
The woman arrested at the Peridot home was identified as Teresa Castellanos Padilla, 22. She is being held in lieu of $110,000 bail on a charge of trafficking and for conspiracy to violate the controlled substances act.
Mezzetta said 30 officers from various agencies were involved in the arrests. He said the Douglas County Special Weapons and Tactics team participated in the arrest.
“They’ve been investigating these folks for a couple of weeks,” Mezzetta said.
Two homebuilders said they were getting supplies at the Home Depot when they found themselves in the middle of the arrest.
Gardnerville homebuilders Matt Crittenden and Scott Broady said they saw officers in civilian clothes and SWAT clothing coming at them on Friday morning.
“We were looking at each other wondering what the other had done,” Broady said.
Both men put up their hands and then realized officers were heading for the vehicle behind them.
Crittenden said officers took up positions next to the windows on his truck and a third officer was leaning over the truck’s hood.
“It’s great they’re getting this stuff off the street, but there is no reason for them to put two people who aren’t involved in the line of fire,” he said. “There should have been a different way of orchestrating it.”
Mezzetta said the suspects’ lookout unexpectedly accelerated in behind Crittenden’s truck, forcing officers to improvise at the scene.
“These situations are extremely fluid and sometimes not every possibility can be anticipated nor planned for, as was the case in this latest arrest,” he said. “A lookout positioned across the parking lot sped toward the officers making the arrest. It was the presence of this vehicle and law enforcement’s reaction that drew a complaint from an uninvolved individual who blamed not the trafficker, but law enforcement for placing him in harms way.”
Mezzetta said that Crittenden’s truck unwittingly prevented the look-out from fleeting. He said involved officers and two supervisors witnessing the arrest dispute that Crittenden’s truck was used for cover.
Mezzetta said Crittenden was offered a chance to talk to supervisors at the scene of the incident and declined.
He said it was not officers’ intention to put Crittenden and Broady in the position they were in.
“Let’s lay the blame where it belongs, at those who choose to endanger our community by their use and profit of illegal drugs,” Mezzetta said.