Two deny drug trafficking charges |

Two deny drug trafficking charges

Two Santa Cruz men facing life in prison denied cocaine trafficking charges on Monday.

Joseph V. Perez, 26, and Oscar Madriz, 25, entered not-guilty pleas to charges of trafficking and sales of controlled substances before District Judge Michael Gibbons in connection with a March 2 arrest in Stateline.

Perez appeared with his new attorney David Houston. Attorney Joseph Gilbert is representing Madriz.

Gibbons set an April 23 trial date after pointing out that the case has dragged out for a long time.

The trial could be reset for June 18 if a conflict occurs.

Officers found 255 grams of cocaine with a street value of $25,500 when Perez and Madriz were arrested. Madriz, an ex-felon, was found with a loaded semi-automatic handgun.

The arrests came as the culmination of a month long investigation into cocaine being transported to and distributed out of Stateline from California.