Wednesday, March 26, 2014

3 convicted felons face new felony charges

7 arrests made in south valley on gun and drug charges


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Top, Carlos Moya-Diaz; middle, Roberto Javier Garcia; bottom, Ricardo Torres-Gomez.

    Three of the seven men arrested last week by federal and local authorities on felony gun or drug charges have prior felony convictions in Blaine County.
    The three are Roberto Javier Garcia, 29, of Bellevue, Carlos Moya-Diaz, 29, of Hailey, and Ricardo Torres-Gomez, 23, of Bellevue.
    Information about the seven arrests, which actually occurred as a result of two separate investigations, was released by the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office late Thursday afternoon. According to a news release, two men were arrested on gun or drug charges early Thursday morning at a two-story, two-residence home at 516 Oak St. in Bellevue.
    Five other men were arrested at various locations in the county later that day because of a Blaine County grand jury indictment issued earlier in March or a federal arrest warrant.
    Sheriff Gene Ramsey said Monday that the five later arrests were not directly related to the police raid earlier Thursday in Bellevue.
    “These are two separate instances; they just happened simultaneously,” Ramsey said. “The incident in Bellevue was not related to the other drug busts. We already had people in place; we already had the search teams. We just decided to do it all while we had the manpower available.”
    According to the news release, the Bellevue raid, a joint operation between the federal Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agency and the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team, a unit comprising officers from various local police agencies, occurred at about 6 a.m. Mechanisms referred to as “distractive devices,” which are explosives that are loud and emit bright light, were used in the raid.
    “Because of the weapons charge, for the safety of the suspects, the safety of our officers and the safety of the public, the distractive devices were used,” Ramsey said. “You just don’t know what you’re getting into when you go into that situation. Distractive devices are often used when there are guns and drugs involved in an investigation.”
    Arrested at the home was downstairs resident Esteban Villegas-Gamez, 39, who, according to the news release, faces federal charges of felony distribution of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of a firearm.
    Also arrested was upstairs resident Roberto Javier Garcia on a felony charge of illegal possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. A probable-cause affidavit filed against him in the case alleges he was in possession of a BB or pellet gun and a crossbow. A criminal complaint against Garcia includes a sentence enhancement for allegedly being a “persistent violator.”
    According to court records, Garcia was convicted in Blaine County in 2004 for grand theft and given a three-years suspended prison sentence. He was convicted in 2012 for delivery of a controlled substance and sentenced to 26 months in prison but given credit for 63 days already spent in jail.

Prior convictions
    Carlos Moya-Diaz was arrested on the grand jury indictment. According to the news release, he is charged with a felony count of drug trafficking in methamphetamine. Moya-Diaz was also convicted in Blaine County in 2007 for delivery of a controlled substance and was given a three-year determinate and a three-year indeterminate prison sentence.
    Another convicted felon, Ricardo Torres-Gomez, is now charged with two felony counts of delivery of a controlled substance. He was convicted in Blaine County in 2012 of possession of a controlled substance and sentenced to 28 days in jail.
    Also arrested on the grand jury indictment were Roberto Martinez-Perez, 34, of Hailey, who is charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, and Gildardo Orozco, 37, of Hailey, who is charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance.
    A final suspect, 18-year-old Ismael Hernandez-Valle, of Hailey, is charged with a federal count of distribution of methamphetamine.
Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com






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