ELKO – A police officer pulled over a driver for invalid plates which led to other serious criminal charges, according to Police Lt. Ty Trouten.
Christopher P. Estella, 30, was pulled over Friday at around 1:30 a.m. on West Sage and Elm streets for driving with surrendered license plates.
The attending officer discovered that Estella also did not have insurance on the vehicle he was driving, said Trouten. Further investigation led to the discovering of around five grams of methamphetamine packaged in one gram bags, and a handgun. Estella is prohibited from carrying a firearm.
Estella was arrested for operating an unregistered vehicle, trailer, or semi; not having proof of insurance; possession of a controlled substance; possession to sell a controlled substance; owning or possessing a gun by a prohibited person; use or possession of drug paraphernalia; and trafficking a controlled substance.
ELKO – Jose de Jesus Segundo-Huizar waived his preliminary hearing in Elko Justice Court Thursday, according to court staff.
A date for trial in Elko District Court has not yet been set.
Segundo-Huizar, 46, of Jerome, Idaho, is accused of the murder of a Ryndon woman whose body was found Sept. 4 buried in a shallow grave off Mountain City Highway.
The suspect faces six counts including first-degree murder, kidnapping, child abuse, and concealing or destroying evidence at the commission of a felony, according to previous reports.
Carmen Magallanes-Sanchez was reported missing Aug. 24 by her boyfriend.
A hunter found her body 11 days later 30 miles north of Elko off Mountain City Highway and she was identified through fingerprints Sept. 15.
As Elko County Sheriff’s detectives worked on the case, they followed a trail to Idaho and evidence that led to Segundo-Huizar. He was arrested Oct. 3 after showing the detectives where her head was buried.
ELKO – A possible domestic dispute ended in the arrest of two people for possessing a stolen vehicle.
According to Police Lt. Ty Trouten, officers were called to 810 Commercial St. around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday over an ongoing fight between three roommates.
The owner of the house, who was not identified, was trying to evict Kaleen Ballard, 27, and Michael Hines, 35, from the home, said Trouten.
After officers arrived, a relative of the primary resident of the home said, “That car that they have over there, that’s stolen.”
The couple claimed they borrowed it from a friend.
The officers investigated the Jeep and discovered property owned by both Ballard and Hines in the vehicle. They ran plates and also learned the Jeep was reported as stolen in Elko in October, according to Trouten.
Ballard and Blake were arrested on one count each of possessing, receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle worth less than $3,500.
ELKO – Two Battle Mountain men were arrested for repeatedly cashing fraudulent checks at a local casino.
According to Elko Police Lt. Ty Trouten, Lawrence M. Baysinger, 28, and Daniel K. Chacon, 31, were arrested at around 3:14 a.m. Sunday on Ruby Vista Drive near the golf course after fleeing a local casino.
Trouten said that Baysinger had gone into the casino to cash a fictitious check for $1,800.
“It sounds like this is not the first time they had been in,” said Trouten, “they were alerted to watch for them and call us.”
According to Trouten another officer on a day shift had taken a report about other checks from the same company being fraudulently cashed made out to Baysinger and Chacon adding up to $25,000 at that time.
“We have previous reports of each one of them coming in multiple times to take forged checks, utter them and obtain the money under false pretenses. It looks like this all started in early January,” Trouten said.
The cage attendant left to call the police. When she returned, Baysinger grabbed his identification and fled the casino and left in a vehicle with another man.
Security officers at the casino had taken notice of the vehicle and direction it was headed and told the police.
Police discovered the two on Ruby Vista Drive and stopped them on a traffic stop. The officer arrested them on multiple charges.
Baysinger was arrested for seven counts of burglary; seven counts of intent to utter a fictitious bill, note or check; and seven counts of obtaining money, property or labor under false pretenses.
His bail was listed at $315,000.
Chacon was arrested for five counts of burglary; five counts of intent to utter a fictitious bill, note or check; and five counts of obtaining money, property or labor under false pretenses.
ELKO – An Elko man is on trial in Elko District Court this week on charges of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl last May.
Efren del Angel-Flores, 27, is accused of entering the victim’s apartment when she was home alone and assaulting her in a back bedroom.
The suspect reportedly fled from the apartment after the victim’s family returned home and drove away in his car which was parked across the street with the engine running.
Angel-Flores was arrested in Spring Creek after a driver for Lostra Brothers Towing and Wreck Recovery Service saw a vehicle matching the description given out by authorities on the radio and notified officials.
In opening statements before Judge Nancy Porter and the jury, Deputy District Attorney Chad Thompson said that testimony from family and friends of the victim, and DNA evidence will show that “this was not a consensual encounter.”
Known as “M” in all court records and proceedings, the victim was treated at Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital where DNA swabs were taken for evidence.
After his arrest, Angel-Flores was brought to NNRH for DNA evidence to be collected, which showed that his DNA was found on the victim, according to Washoe County Crime Lab analysis, said Thompson.
Defense attorney Roger Stewart in his opening statement told jurors that “the case is about cheating” on M’s boyfriend with Angel-Flores.
Stewart explained that Angel-Flores was acquainted with the victim and her boyfriend for a few months prior to the incident.
Angel-Flores faces charges of sexual assault and burglary with the intent to commit assault or battery on another person.
If convicted on the charge of sexual assault, he faces a sentence of life in prison with a possibility of parole after 10 years.
The trial is scheduled to continue through Friday.
ELKO – A van that delivers the Elko Daily Free Press newspapers from Twin Falls was carjacked early Thursday morning in Ryndon.
According to Undersheriff Ron Supp, the driver of the van was loading newspapers into the machine at the Ryndon Country Store at around 3 a.m. when a man approached him, pushed him to the ground and stole the van.
The Times-News van headed east on Interstate 80 but was spotted by a Free Press employee a short time later as it drove west on Idaho Street in front of the Free Press office.
The vehicle was pulled over at Idaho Street and Jennings Way.
Roland Reynolds, 45, of Elko was arrested at 4 a.m. on charges of grand larceny of a vehicle worth $3,500 or greater; possessing a stolen vehicle; and robbery.
The crime resulted in newspapers being delivered late.
“This was an unfortunate event that happened last night,” Times-News and Elko Daily Free Press Publisher Travis Quast said Thursday. “Fortunately, our employee was not injured. We are thankful that police reacted quickly.”
ELKO – A man who fled from a police officer was captured and arrested on multiple charges.
Police Lt. Ty Trouten said an officer was doing a security check in the Gold Country Casino Thursday at around 8 p.m. when he noticed a man he knew was wanted. The officer tried to engage the man but he fled and dashed toward the RV parking area behind the casino.
Police discovered David Thompson, 32, of Salt Lake City trying to dispose of an unknown amount of methamphetamine, according to Trouten. Officers took custody of Thompson and searched him. The police also discovered 15 grams of suspected heroin.
Upon further search they discovered that Thompson was carrying an identification card with Thompson’s photograph but another individual’s name. Officers called a Utah family of the man who was named on the identification and he told them he was unaware of missing identification. Thompson also had stolen credit cards on his person.
Thompson was arrested for two counts of violation of probation or condition of suspended sentence, use or possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting a public officer, attempting to destroy or conceal evidence, possession of a controlled substance, possession to sell a controlled substance, trafficking a controlled substance, two counts of failure to appear after bail on a felony, and on a warrant for conspiracy to violate the controlled substance act, possession to sell a controlled substance, and four counts of selling a controlled substance.
ELKO – A jury of eight women and four men found Efren del Angel-Flores not guilty of all counts of allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl last May.
The jury deliberated Friday afternoon after closing arguments from Chief District Attorney Chad Thompson in Elko District Court and defense attorney Roger Stewart, who argued that the trial was “a case of cheating.”
Angel-Flores, 27, of Elko was charged with sexual assault and burglary with the intent to commit assault or battery on another person.
The four-day trial included testimony from the teen, known as “M,” her relatives, a nurse at Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital, police officers, and Angel-Flores.
The teen’s aunt testified that she and other family members went out to eat lunch and left “M” home alone May 30. The family returned to find the deadbolt to the apartment locked and called out for “M” to open the door.
Upon entering, the aunt saw “M” and Angel-Flores who was standing behind the door.
The teen’s aunt testified Angel-Flores ran out the door to his truck parked across the street which was left running and the radio blaring.
After he left, “M” told her aunt she had been raped.
Angel-Flores was arrested in Spring Creek later that day.
During the trial, Thompson played a recording of Angel-Flores interview with Elko Police Detective Peter Nielson for the jury where the defendant repeatedly denied having sexual relations with teen.
“His DNA was found on swabs from the victim,” said Thompson.
Stewart explained that there were conflicting statements from “M” regarding how Angel-Flores gained entry to the apartment.
Angel-Flores and “M’s” boyfriend were co-workers several months before the incident, said Stewart, and the defendant drove the couple to the boyfriend’s home on one occasion.
As a result of the arrest and subsequent trial, Angel-Flores and his wife are getting divorced, said Stewart.
ELKO — A Wyoming man injured two people Thursday after he struck them with his vehicle while allegedly driving drunk in the downtown corridor, said Elko Police Lt. Ty Trouten.
Shortly before 8 p.m., Wayne C. Smith, 68, of Ten Sleep, was leaving the 500 block of the parking corridor when his vehicle hit two people crossing Commercial Street. The identities of the two people have not been released.
Both pedestrians were hurt, but the injuries were not believed to be life threatening at the time of the incident, according to police.
Smith was arrested for driving under the influence and reckless driving. His bail was set at $1,495.
ELKO – A man who allegedly stole a woman’s purse Wednesday was also seen cashing a counterfeit bill.
According to West Wendover Police Lt. Don Lininger, Christian Collazo, 21, went into a casino and stole a woman’s purse that was placed next to her as she gambled.
Police recognized Collazo from the casino video and went to his residence where they discovered the purse and all of its contents. Police had already been tipped off that Collazo had gone into another casino prior to the theft and convinced a bartender to break a bill that was later discovered to be counterfeit.
Collazo was arrested for grand larceny of less than $3,500 and intent to utter a fictitious bill, note or check. His bail was listed at $15,000.
Lininger said there has been a rash of counterfeit bills showing up in the community usually in the form of $20 and $50 bills.
“Most often the bills are located in the soft count,” said Lininger.
He explained that the exchanges are usually being made in casinos when a waitress or dealer is very busy, not giving them time to really examine a bill. According to Lininger, the scenario is carried out then the perpetrator buys chips, gambles for a short time then cashes in the chips.
Lininger said investigation of the counterfeit money is ongoing.
ELKO – The identity of the two pedestrians who were struck by an automobile Thursday evening have been released by Elko police.
According to Police Lt. Ty Trouten, Wayne Smith, 68, of Ten Sleep, Wyoming was turning east onto Commercial Street from the downtown corridor when his vehicle struck Louis Zirelli, 75, and Jean Nieddenriep, 72, of Elko who were walking across Commercial Street toward the parking corridor.
The incident occurred at around 7:45 p.m. near the G Bar. An unknown caller alerted police and they were on the scene within approximately two minutes, said Trouten.
Both pedestrians were hurt and transported to Northeastern Nevada Hospital where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries and released.
The driver was arrested for driving under the influence and reckless driving. His bail was set at $1,495.
ELKO – A 16-year-old asked his father about a homework question and the man threatened the teen and his friend with a box cutter, according to police.
Lt. Ty Trouten said officers responded to a call at 775 Fir St. around 11 p.m. Monday. Ronald Bollinger, 53, had been drinking when he reacted to his son’s question with verbal abuse, grabbed the boy by his hair, punched him in the head and pulled a box cutter from his pocket. The teen told police his father threatened to kill him.
Bollinger then fled from the residence and police were called. He was later found behind the house near the alley, said Trouten.
The family indicated there have been past instances of abuse.
Bollinger was arrested for child abuse or neglect, domestic battery and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
ELKO – A Spring Creek woman has been arrested on charges of embezzling money from Elko Motorcycle Jamboree.
According to Elko Police Lt. Ty Trouten this case began in late June, soon after the jamboree held its final event. A board member alerted police that when the committee was paying the bills they found that figures were not matching up.
Police performed a detailed investigation including search warrants, multiple interviews, review of bank records and checks that had been cashed.
Trouten said it came to light that Deborah Urrizaga, 51, of Spring Creek, who was the treasurer for the jamboree, had been cashing dual signature checks in which she had also forged the signature of another member of the committee.
Urrizaga was arrested Thursday at a local school.
“The thefts seemed to be focused the weeks before the jamboree and through the Motorcycle Jamboree,” said Trouten.
Urrizaga is charged with 21 felonies including seven counts of obtaining another person’s identification with the intent to harm another person or commit an unlawful act; two counts of theft of something valued $3,500 or more; seven counts of forgery; and five counts of something valued at $2,500 or more. Her bail was listed at $315,000.
ELKO – A woman convicted of an inappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old boy tearfully apologized for her actions in Elko District Court before she was given a suspended sentence and probation.
Judge Nancy Porter sentenced Ristina Slack, 41, to the maximum of five years in prison on each count of statutory sexual seduction with a minor under 16 years old, to be served consecutively and with credit for 48 days served in the Elko County Jail.
Porter then suspended the sentence and placed Slack on five years’ probation with special conditions, one of which was to serve an additional 30 days in jail starting after the hearing ended.
“Based on the psychosexual evaluation, pre-sentence report and my knowledge of this case, I do not believe you are at risk of re-offending. You can be successfully treated in the community,” Porter said.
“However, there needs to be some more punishment other than 48 days in jail, so you are going to do another 30 days.”
“Continue with your counseling going in the direction you are going,” the judge added.
Slack was arrested a year ago and charged with lewdness with a child under 14 years of age, a Category A felony, which was punishable with life in prison with the possibility of parole in 10 years.
In September, Slack pleaded guilty to two counts of statutory sexual seduction in a plea agreement that changed the counts to Category C felonies.
In the criminal complaint filed last March, the victim disclosed to Elko school police that the relationship began in person when he dated Slack’s daughter and continued through texts that “were flirtatious in nature.”
Through texts, Slack arranged multiple meetings for the purpose of intercourse over the summer of 2015, according to the complaint.
Slack had also been a part-time food service employee at the boy's school until Dec. 1, 2015, when she was terminated.
During the sentencing phase, Deputy District Attorney Rob Lowe and defense attorney Sherburne Macfarlane argued the point of additional incarceration for Slack.
Considering if the gender roles were reversed, Lowe asked the judge for additional jail time for Slack.
“People need to know that these laws that we have are not just to protect little girls, but protect little boys too,” he said.
“This defendant has robbed this young victim of his youth, his innocence,” said Lowe. “You can’t give him back his innocence.”
“It’s a shocking case and some incarceration is required,” continued Lowe.
Lowe also said he spoke to the victim’s mother about the boy’s condition prior to the hearing.
“He’s doing well,” Lowe reported.
Macfarlane explained to the court that upon his first meeting with Slack, he saw that she “was exceedingly distraught over what she had done.”
“She has gotten a taste of what it’s like to be incarcerated,” said Macfarlane, referring to Slack’s time served. “I think it really hit home with her.”
Slack has also taken responsibility for her actions, Macfarlane added, referring to the results of a psychosexual evaluation the defendant underwent as part of her conviction.
Porter then asked Slack if she had anything to tell the court.
“There isn’t enough words to express how sorry I am for the choices I’ve made,” said Slack, who had started to cry earlier.
“I’m sorry to my daughters, their father, my family, his family, and as well as anyone else."
"The choices I’ve made have forever changed people’s lives, including mine, and for that I am truly sorry,” Slack concluded before breaking into sobs.
“It’s good that you appreciate how many people you’ve hurt through your actions,” Porter told Slack, before reviewing the results of Slack’s evaluation.
“You expressed remorse and regret in that evaluation and you’re expressing that here today,” Porter told Slack. “The evaluator felt that you did not attempt to gain her sympathy or minimize your responsibility.”
“You’re receptive to authority and willing to learn from your mistakes. A sexual violence risk assessment placed you at low risk to re-offend. You have no history of violence or aggressive behavior, no substance abuse issues.
“The crime is isolated. No prior criminal history,” continued Porter.
“You turned yourself in, to my knowledge there have been and no issues while you’ve been out on bail, and you have made all your court appearances. During counseling, you’ve been motivated to continue counseling.”
Additional conditions of the probation required Slack to continue therapy until her probation officer determines it is no longer necessary, register as a sex offender with her local law enforcement agency, and abstain from alcohol, marijuana and gambling.
After signing a form that she had read the requirements, Slack was led away by a Sheriff’s deputy.
This article was updated Feb. 15 to correct that Slack was ordered to serve her sentences consecutively, not concurrently.
ELKO – Law enforcement officials are warning the public about a phone scam in which the caller claims to be from the sheriff’s office and instructs the recipient to purchase iTunes cards in order to avoid arrest for supposedly failing to appear for jury duty.
Elko Police Department received a call Wednesday from a resident who said she had received a call from a person identifying themselves as an Elko County Sheriff’s Office employee. The caller advised the resident that they had a warrant for their arrest for failing to appear for jury duty. The resident was instructed to purchase $3,000 in iTunes cards and told there would be a person at the jail who would meet her to collect the cards.
“The Sheriff’s Office would like the public to know that people are not called by telephone and advised of arrest warrants nor would any warrant be cleared through the use of iTunes cards or any other such payment. All such transactions would be facilitated by the courts and not with individual deputies or employees of the Sheriff’s Office,” stated a media release on Thursday.
“We would also advise citizens to be wary in light of the recent flood event in Elko County that many such scams may be attempted by people representing themselves as employees or representatives of various organizations that provide assistance in these types of events. Typically, legitimate organizations do not solicit funds in this fashion and none would request payment by things such as iTunes cards.”
Anyone who receives this type of solicitation should contact local law enforcement and/or the organization claiming to be represented.
“Do not give your credit card or personal information without first knowing who it is you are supplying the information to,” advised the sheriff’s office.
The Elko County Sheriff’s Office can answer questions about scam phone calls at 738-3421.
ELKO – A father who allegedly threatened his son and another teen with a box cutter in February was ordered to attend an alcohol treatment program in exchange for a reduction in charges.
Ronald Titus Bollinger, 53, of Elko was charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, both category B felonies resulting from his arrest Feb. 6 at his residence.
According to police reports, Bollinger was intoxicated when he allegedly assaulted his 16-year old son and threatened to kill him when the teen approached his father about a homework question. He also allegedly threatened his son’s friend who was at the house that night.
Police found Bollinger behind his home on Fir Street where he was apprehended.
In court, Deputy District Attorney David Buchler asked Justice of the Peace Mason Simons to have the matter continued for seven months while Bollinger attends a residential alcohol treatment program for three to six months.
He would go from jail to the treatment program, added Buchler.
“Upon completion of treatment, he would come back and be allowed to enter a plea of guilty to domestic violence,” said Bucher.
Buchler also noted that the agreement was urged by the victims and defendant’s wife.
Bollinger’s attorney, public defender Roger Stewart, was in agreement with the proposed plea deal.
Simons vacated the preliminary hearing and set a status hearing for Oct. 3.
ELKO – A Spring Creek man who had more than a dozen pipe bombs in his bedroom at his parents’ home in Spring Creek a year ago was sentenced this week on 17 charges.
Thomas Mooney, 27, was arrested last March after deputies were called to the residence regarding a domestic issue. While searching the home they discovered pipe bombs and materials for making improvised explosive devices, along with firearms and small amounts of marijuana and heroin.
Mooney was found guilty in October of 14 counts of “possession of a component of an explosive or incendiary device or devices with intent to manufacture an explosive or incendiary device or devices.”
He also pleaded guilty later in October to three counts of possession of a firearm by a person previously convicted of a felony offense.
District Judge Al Kacin sentenced him Tuesday on all of the counts. Mooney was ordered to serve 14 concurrent six-year terms in prison on the explosives offenses, and three concurrent five-year terms on the firearms offenses.
The total 11-year sentence will be offset by 361 days already served, and Mooney will be eligible for parole after serving 52 months.
The three deputies who were called to the residence had received training in explosives, including one who was trained in the Marine Corps. They testified against Mooney in court.
Thirteen completed bombs were found, along with other explosives, including one made from petroleum jelly and “known as Poor Man’s C4.”
ELKO – A domestic violence call Thursday night by the victim’s friend led to a Spring Creek man’s arrest for strangulation.
According to Elko Police Lt. Ty Trouten, Ricky N. Preston, 37, was arguing with his girlfriend at around 1 a.m. when she felt things were getting out of hand. She attempted to call the police. Preston then grabbed the phone and strangled her until she lost consciousness.
Somewhere within that time frame Preston also broke a number of items.
When the victim regained consciousness she managed to convince Preston to give her the phone, promising she would not contact the police. She was then able to text a friend who called for help on her behalf.
Trouten said when authorities arrived at 2119 Villa Drive the woman had definite strangulation marks. Medical personnel were summoned.
This was not the first instance of abuse and it was apparent that alcohol played a factor in the crime, said Trouten.
Preston was arrested for domestic battery by strangulation. His bail was set at $20,000.
ELKO – A man suspected of shooting another man in the Smith’s parking lot was bound over to district court following a proposed plea agreement with the District Attorney’s office.
James Ryan Blake, 30, of Elko is accused of shooting Michael May after May allegedly struck Blake’s car with a baseball bat on Dec. 9.
May, who was shot in the shoulder and stomach, drove himself to Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital for treatment.
Blake turned himself in to authorities the next day.
In the proposed agreement, Blake will plead no contest to battery with a deadly weapon and grand larceny of a firearm when arraigned in Elko District Court, after which he would serve a maximum of 10 years in prison.
The suspect was originally charged with attempted murder.
Blake’s defense attorney, Tony Liker, struck the agreement minutes before a continuation of the preliminary hearing Thursday in Elko Justice Court.
The court also heard a motion entered by Blake’s previous court-appointed attorney, Gary Woodbury, to reduce his bail from $105,000 and release him on his own recognizance.
Liker appealed for Blake’s release before Judge Mason Simons, arguing that Blake felt threatened by May and others prior to the shooting incident.
“He wasn’t looking to shoot someone,” said Liker. “He was ducking the situation.”
Liker also told the court that due to Blake’s medical condition, he needs a few months to get treatment and “to get his affairs in order” before sentencing.
Simons asked Liker to explain Blake’s alleged involvement in another shooting incident in August. In that shooting, Fifth Street Bridge was closed for three hours.
No charges were filed or weapon located from that incident. Earlier testimony from Elko Police Sgt. Rick Palhegyi revealed that Blake had been involved.
“They were trying to break into his house,” explained Liker.
“He was investigated, never arrested,” added Liker, who maintained it was another self-defense incident.
Chief District Attorney Chad Thompson disagreed that Blake was not a risk to the public, stating that Blake initially stole a gun used in the parking lot shooting.
“He has demonstrated bad judgement with guns already in a short span of four months,” said Thompson.
“In that case,” said Thompson referring to the August incident, “if it was self-defense, he ran again, he hid the gun. They never found the gun in that one, and then this case.”
“He’s a big risk for something else really bad happening,” Thompson continued. “Based on his history, facts of this case, and his bad decision making, we would oppose any reduction of bail.”
When offered by Simons to respond to Thompson’s statements, Liker addressed the stolen gun issue.
Liker told the court Blake’s sister, Jessica Elliott, gave Blake the gun, telling Blake it was hers, without the knowledge of the gun’s real owner, Elko County Sheriff deputy Ritchie Lespade.
“She’s going to say that at the sentencing if need be,” said Liker.
Before giving his decision on the bail motion, Simons asked Blake if wanted to make a statement.
“I’m glad no one else was hurt,” said Blake. “Even now I regret shooting Michael. I regret both incidents.”
“One of my fundamental responsibilities is to ensure the safety of the community,” said Simons before announcing his decision.
“I have concerns shared by the DA that Mr. Blake might pose a potential risk to the community if out on his own recognizance,” Simons said before denying the motion and remanding Blake back to the Elko County Jail to await arraignment in district court.
ELKO — A vehicle without a license plate led to the arrest of an unregistered felon with fake identification cards and allegedly stolen credit cards.
On Thursday, Elko County Sheriff’s deputies stopped a vehicle on Lamoille Highway because it didn’t have a license plate.
The driver of the vehicle did not have a valid driver’s license. The owner of the vehicle, Christopher Gary Pace, arrived on scene to take possession of the vehicle. After a search of the vehicle, Pace, 44, of Fresno, California, was arrested.
A K-9 alerted to the presence of a controlled substance in the vehicle and it was searched. A box containing multiple checkbooks, identification cards, Social Security cards and credit or debit cards was found.
All parties involved denied ownership of the property.
“Two of the items located were forged Nevada driver’s licenses with the photo of the owner of the vehicle, Christopher Gary Pace, on them; however, the identifying information was not his,” according to the sheriff’s report.
Pace was arrested for two counts of possession of debit/credit card without consent of the owner, possession of identification of another, 10 counts of possession or sale of document or personal identifying information to establish false status or identity; and felon failure to register. His bail was set at $80,640.
ELKO — Deputies arrested a Spring Creek woman Thursday after she left her infant in a car for an hour to gamble.
Jamie L. Benson, 28, was arrested for child abuse or neglect. Her bail was set at $100,000.
When deputies arrived at Dottie’s Casino in Spring Creek they found a child that had been left unattended in a running vehicle for an extended period of time. The vehicle was running in the parking lot and was unlocked. A 14-month-old child was in the back seat.
“The heater of the vehicle was turned all the way up and the interior of the vehicle was extremely hot,” stated the sheriff’s office.
Benson was found inside the casino at a gaming machine. She told deputies that “she had entered the casino to purchase cigarettes and had been inside the casino for approximately 25 minutes. Further investigation revealed that she had been inside the casino approximately one hour,” stated the report.
The child was transported to Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital and was subsequently taken into the custody of the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services.
The Sheriff’s Office reminds parents to never leave a child in a vehicle.
“In addition to accidents, abductions or other events that endanger a child in a vehicle, vehicles may be extremely hot or cold depending on weather conditions,” stated the sheriff’s office. “In this particular event, a temperature reading of 86 degrees was measured in the interior of the vehicle after the door had been opened for approximately fifteen minutes. Temperatures inside a vehicle in the summer months can exceed 100 degrees very quickly. Please, never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.”
ELKO – An officer pulled over a white sedan for speeding Wednesday on Interstate 80 and allegedly discovered drugs, guns and other evidence that resulted in two arrests.
According to court records, Justin R. Shaul, 34, of Marion, Indiana was stopped for driving over the posted limit. The driver had no form of identification but identified himself as Kyle Short and provided a Social Security number that matched.
After issuing a citation for speeding the officer asked for and was granted consent to search the vehicle.
Passenger Madisyn Parkhurst, 19, of Anderson, Indiana stated that property in the front seat and several items in the rear seat were hers. The officer found a silver purse on the floor and a glass pipe with burnt residue and a small baggie with a crystalline substance. He also discovered a loaded .22-caliber pistol, according to the report.
Parkhurst was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and use or possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bail was set at $20,640.
The officer then located another glass pipe with burnt ends and multiple digital scales, the report said. A black mesh bag was identified as belonging to Shaul that contained a loaded .40-caliber pistol.
A criminal history check revealed that Shaul was a convicted felon. He was arrested and charged with use or possession of drug paraphernalia; failure to surrender a driver’s license; speeding 16-20 miles over the posted limit; possession of a controlled substance; owning or possessing a gun by a prohibited person; resisting a public officer; obtaining or using another person’s identification for harmful or unlawful purposes; and for being a fugitive felon from another state.
ELKO – Police have arrested a 16-year-old in connection with a break-in at Ruby View Golf Course.
Police responded to an alarm at the golf course early Tuesday morning. They originally thought it was a false alarm but arrested the suspect when they noticed items from an earlier burglary attempt were still in the area.
Lt. Ty Trouten said officers are still on the lookout for other accomplices in the burglary attempt.
“The juvenile was found with property from both last night and what appears to be property from the weekend burglaries,” Trouten said on Tuesday. “We don’t necessarily believe he is the sole perpetrator so obviously the investigation will continue on that front.”
The suspect is expected to be charged with burglary and possession of stolen property.
ELKO – A woman slashed another woman after an incident involving a marijuana sale Sunday morning.
According to Elko Police Lt. Ty Trouten, Melissa M. Valles, 43, of Elko was in an argument with a woman at the Cimarron Trailer Court over a marijuana sale. Police were called about a stabbing and when officers arrived they found the victim had wounds to her arm and face.
The assailant fled to her trailer, locked herself inside and would not answer the door when law enforcement arrived, said Trouten.
Police procured a search warrant and were able to take her into custody and process her for evidence within her trailer.
“This is the side of it that the public never sees,” said Trouten. “They think you smoke marijuana, you get mellow, and fall asleep, no big deal. But, what you are talking about is illegal drug trade. Despite what the state law may be, if one person feels like they have been ripped off or taken advantage of you have this response.”
Valles was arrested for battery with a deadly weapon. Her bail was listed at $50,000.
Elko – Officials arrested three juveniles Sunday for several acts of ongoing vandalism.
According to Elko Police Lt. Ty Trouten, at around 2 a.m. Sunday morning a concerned citizen called police and said there were some suspicious subjects at Elko High School. When the officers arrived they saw three people dressed in black, one with a backpack. When the three saw the police they ran.
One suspect, a 14-year-old female, was apprehended and through the investigation they were able to identify the two others involved, 14- and 16-year-old males.
The three are responsible for two episodes of vandalism at Elko High School, destruction at the Mountain View soccer field, and vandalism — including a broken window — at a vacant building on Chris Ave., police say.
The damage on Sunday included breaking into a school van and stealing spray paint, a crime that constitutes auto burglary, which is felony, said Trouten. A fire extinguisher was also discharged in a building and on a bus.
An earlier incident of vandalism at school occurred about a month ago when authorities investigated an incident in the EHS band room. Graffitti was located throughout the room, several instruments were broken or damaged, and some supplies were strewn about the room. This occurred just before the state tournament in Las Vegas.
The three individuals are responsible for all of the accounts of vandalism, according to Trouten.
“There is no issue or distinct motive other than going out and causing destruction and chaos,” he said.
ELKO – A possible domestic dispute led to the arrest of two people for child abuse or neglect early Sunday morning.
According to Elko Police Lt. Ty Trouten, officers arrived at the Monte Carlo Apartments after being called on a domestic dispute. The male had already left by the time police came to the scene.
“When they got to the apartment there was a visible amount of marijuana smoke and a strong odor,” said Trouten.
The officers found four children in the home 9 and under. Three children belonged to the couple and one was a friend who was spending the night.
The officers found the man down the street a few minutes later. Both adults had smoked a quantity of marijuana and ingested alcohol, according to Trouten, and they were in no condition to be looking after four children.
Officers arrested Manuel S. Briseno, and Jessie A. Myers, 32, on four counts each of child abuse or neglect.
Trouten said Child and Family Services was able to place the three children with a relative for the night and the parents of the visiting child were reached and took the child home.
Bail for Briseno and Myers was listed at $400,000 each.
ELKO – Authorities arrested a woman for allegedly threatening her spouse with a kitchen knife.
A man called authorities twice on March 14 after his wife made an advance against him with a dangerous weapon. According to Elko Justice Court records, Carol J. Hosford, 62, of Elko had been drinking when she pulled the knife. Her husband called police afterwards but refrained from telling the officer about the knife during the first meeting.
The husband left with his granddaughter and went to dinner. When they returned, Hosford was still drinking and remained combative. During the time the two were gone she apparently stabbed an office chair and fell down some stairs.
When police arrived a second time officers asked whether she had threatened her husband and she agreed. Statements from the two witnesses also corroborated the report.
Hosford was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. She was taken to the Elko County Jail and then to Northeastern Nevada Hospital for treatment of a sprained foot. Bail was listed at $20,000.
ELKO – A Carlin man has been charged with sexual assault a year after the alleged crime through DNA analysis.
Joshua R. Ward, 23, was arrested March 14 at 1655 Puett Drive on charges of sexual assault and conspiracy to commit sexual assault.
According to Elko Justice Court records, Ward had sex with an unidentified female against her will around March 7, 2016. Ward, in conjunction with another unknown person, allegedly conspired to commit the crime and carried it out in Southside Park.
During the rape, one person held down the victim while the other physically assaulted her.
After the attack, the victim underwent a sexual assault examination to collect evidence. The Washoe County Crime Lab analyzed semen from the victim and the results were searched against the Combined DNA Index System, resulting in a match to Ward’s DNA profile.
ELKO – A man who claimed his wife jumped out of their vehicle in December was arrested for battery.
According to Elko Police Lt. Ty Trouten, police were dispatched to Terrace Circle to a suspicious event on Dec. 11.
“A 12-year-old child stated that her mom was beat up in the car and naked,” said Trouten. “Upon arrival police found a female lying face down in the back seat of a pickup truck that was parked in the driveway.”
The victim was unresponsive and had injuries that were severe enough to send her to Utah for medical treatment, said Trouten. The child told officers that her mother and husband, Christopher W. Paquette, 40, of Elko had left the home for a few hours in the evening and had returned.
“He texted the child to go get her mom out of the truck,” said Trouten.
Paquette was not on the scene when police arrived, according to Trouten. Later he told them that he and his wife had been at a friend’s home where they had been drinking. Paquette claimed that the couple had been arguing on the way back from Spring Creek and that the woman jumped or fell from the moving vehicle.
The police obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and discovered a baseball bat with blood on it, said Trouten.
The woman did not have much recollection of what happened, but the investigation revealed that her injuries were not considered to be consistent with jumping or falling from a vehicle.
Paquette was arrested on a felony warrant for battery resulting in significant bodily harm. His bail was listed at $10,000.
CARLIN – A man accused of having sexual relations with a minor was arrested Friday at Pine and Irvin streets.
According to the criminal complaint filed in Elko Justice Court, Jesse J. Regan, 27, of Elko was arrested on multiple counts involving sex with an underage female. The acts allegedly took place between the dates of May 1 to August 31, 2012 in Carlin.
Carlin Police Chief Dennis Fobes said the girl was 13 years old when Regan, a relative of the victim’s mother’s boyfriend, began living at their residence. The victim claimed that Regan began a consensual sexual relationship with her and they agreed to keep it quiet. He stated that he did not want to go to jail. Regan told the girl he knew that it was illegal for them to have a sexual relationship.
During the investigation, the girl disclosed that she was about six to eight weeks pregnant. Due to medical complications the pregnancy had to be terminated. Fetal remains were collected with a search warrant and sent to the Washoe County Crime Lab where it was determined through DNA testing that Regan was the father of the dead child.
Regan was arrested on a felony warrant for three counts of lewdness with a child under 14 and three counts of statutory sexual seduction by a person over the age of 21. Bail was listed at $780,000.
ELKO – A man was arrested Friday after allegedly entering a stranger’s home and holding her child.
According to Elko Police Lt. Ty Trouten, Nicholas R. Rose, 22, of Spring Creek was arrested on Friday after allegedly entering a couple of different apartments.
“He appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol when he was at 1806 Winchester Drive,” said Trouten. “Basically, he tried to gain entry into a couple of different apartments. At one of them a 4-year-old boy opened the door. When the mother walked in she found the unknown male holding her other child, a 21-month old son, with a pan of water on the stove.”
Trouten said the woman took her baby and asked him what he was doing. He mumbled and walked out of the apartment. The woman locked the door and called police.
Rose then knocked on the door of another apartment and when the tenant opened the door he fell inside. After getting up the woman shut the door in his face.
Police came to the scene and arrested Rose for attempted burglary and failure to appear after bail on a misdemeanor crime.
ELKO – A woman was arrested Friday for allegedly exposing her child to drugs and paraphernalia after she called for medical help.
According to the criminal complaint, Jamie S. Chavez, 33, of Elko was in a hotel room with her son when officers from the fire and police department arrived on the scene.
“As I entered the room I spoke with firefighters on scene,” said Elko Police Sgt. Michael O’Farrell. “They advised me that Jamie admitted to them that she had ingested methamphetamine approximately 10 minutes before calling for medical help.”
The officer also noticed marijuana on the dresser and a large knife with the blade open within reach of the child. Xanax without a prescription and a homemade water bong were found in the bathroom. Four hypodermic devices were sitting on top of a bag also accessible by the child.
Chavez was arrested for child abuse or neglect. Bail was listed at $100,000.
ELKO – A Spring Creek man was found competent to stand trial for the alleged murder of his wife in district court on Tuesday.
Donald Willis Fleming, 38, was found by Judge Nancy Porter to have the ability to understand the nature of the criminal charges against him, the ability to understand the purpose of the court proceedings, and the ability to aid and assist his defense counsel with a reasonable degree of rational understanding.
According to Fleming’s attorney, Gary Woodbury, Fleming was prescribed psychotropic medications and was previously diagnosed with depression, bi-polar disorder and anxiety.
Woodbury also told the court a private psychiatrist may be hired to re-evaluate Fleming.
Fleming allegedly shot and killed his wife, Kristin Fleming, at their residence last June. The couple’s three children were at home in their bedrooms at the time.
He is charged with both first and second degree murder with a deadly weapon and was bound over to district court in August.
According to Free Press files, officers had been called to the Spring Creek residence in 2014 when Fleming was arrested for domestic battery.
ELKO – A man who led deputies on a chase around the tree streets was eventually apprehended crawling out of a trash bin.
According to Undersheriff Ron Supp, dispatch called in a stolen 1986 Ford truck at around 8:20 p.m. Monday. Deputies making the rounds spotted the vehicle and noticed the driver was making erratic signals. The officer turned on his lights and the driver, later identified as Hugo Rincon-Caracoza, 20, of Elko, took off through the tree streets.
Rincon-Caracoza eventually ran the vehicle into a yard near 13th and Cedar streets and took off on foot. The officers pursued the man and apprehended him crawling out of a dumpster. He was wrestled into custody and arrested, said Supp.
A search of the vehicle revealed checks stolen from a person in Idaho, a stolen Elko County School District laptop, burglary tools, drugs and drug paraphernalia, and a set of brass knuckles.
Rincon-Caracoza was arrested on three counts of possession of burglary tools; two counts of driving on the sidewalk; six counts of failure to yield at a stop or yield sign; eight counts of failure to give an appropriate signal when required; two counts of failure to yield right of way; three counts of use or possession of drug paraphernalia; possessing, receiving, or transferring a stolen vehicle; being a driver disobeying a peace officer and endangering others; giving a false statement to a public officer; manufacturing, possessing, or using a dangerous weapon; driving with a revoked driver’s license; failure to obey a traffic control device; possession of a controlled substance; reckless driving disregarding safety; possession by a person under 21 of less than or equal to one ounce of marijuana; and possession of a hypodermic device.
ELKO – A Spring Creek man was arrested Saturday on a sexual assault charge that dates back to 2011.
Hunter C. Langley, 23, was arrested on a charge of having sexual intercourse with a female under the age of 16 on March 16, 2011.
According to Deputy Zach Hessing, Langley went into a room of a residence where he was hanging out with several acquaintances. He then had sex with the victim against her will. At the time Langley was at least 18 years old.
Langley was charged with sexual assault. His bail was listed at $500,000.
ELKO – A man was who is accused of a 2015 sexual assault claimed his tight pants prevented the possibility of intercourse.
Daniel C. Goerdt Jr., 28, of Elko was arrested Friday at the Elko County Jail for sexual assault.
According to Sgt. Mike Palhegyi, the victim claimed that Goerdt, an acquaintance, came to her residence unexpectedly. She invited him in and they talked. Later, they began kissing consensually but Goerdt made other advances and the victim told him to stop. Goerdt then got on top of her and told her he was a predator. She asked him to stop about 15 times during the assault but Goerdt was not deterred.
Eventually the victim was able to push Goerdt away and at that point he stopped, said Palhegyi.
During an interview, Goerdt claimed he did not commit the assault because his pants were too tight to unbutton his fly.
Goerdt was charged with sexual assault. His bail was listed at $150,000.
ELKO – A man jailed for bicycle theft in October was arrested again this week on a charge of grand larceny of a motor vehicle.
According to Elko Police Lt. Ty Trouten, the owner of a stolen Hummer saw Nicolas W. Fagoaga, 28, of Elko and an unidentified female drive his vehicle into the parking lot of a local grocery store on Oct. 13.
Police were called and, suspecting trouble, neither Fagoaga nor the female returned through the store entryway, evading police. The vehicle was recovered, and a description of the driver fit a profile known by the police.
Fagoaga was arrested Oct. 26 with a stolen bicycle. At that time, authorities found a set of keys and registration to the stolen Hummer.
After a warrant was issued, Fagoaga was arrested at the Elko County Jail on March 24 for burglary; two counts of grand larceny of a vehicle worth $3,500 or greater; and two counts of possessing, receiving, or transferring a stolen vehicle.
ELKO – A woman who was allegedly under the influence of an unknown substance tumbled to the ground Friday while resisting arrest.
According to Trooper Jim Stewart, the officer spotted a woman at 10:30 p.m. near Fifth and Wilson streets diagonally crossing the street on foot. The officer noticed that she was acting strangely and seemed to be under the influence of a controlled substance.
The officer asked Laura M. Skufca, 39, of Elko if she had been doing drugs and she told him no, said Stewart.
He placed one handcuff on Skufca but she began punching and kicking and both parties fell to the ground.
Stewart said Elko police officers then came to the scene and they assisted the trooper in taking Skufca into custody. No injuries were sustained during the scuffle.
Skufca was arrested for being a pedestrian crossing an area other than a crosswalk; using or being under the influence of a controlled substance; resisting a public officer; and committing battery on a protected person.
ELKO – Two people arrested on Jan. 1 for smoking marijuana in public received a reduced sentence in justice court Monday.
Marcus Conner, 24, of Carlin and Stephany Dennis, 21, of Elko both pleaded guilty to committing a public nuisance before Elko Justice of the Peace Mason Simons. In exchange for the plea, the charge of possession of one ounce or less of marijuana was dismissed, according to court records.
The defendants were ordered to each pay a fine of $355 by the end of the day, court records said.
Conner and Dennis were arrested shortly after midnight Jan. 1 at Cowboys bar on Idaho Street.
While Nevada law permits the use of medical and recreational marijuana, it is illegal to consume or smoke in public places.
ELKO – An Elko man has been arrested after being accused in January of starting an altercation with his father after discussion about his drug use.
Officers called to a residence on a domestic situation on Jan. 7 were met at the door by a man with visible facial injuries and blood on his body. He told officers that he had asked his son to leave the house as they began fighting over the son’s drug use. The injured man stated that he was defending himself. A roommate confirmed the story.
“The assailant aggressively pursued the victim on two separate occasions prior to leaving the residence,” said the roommate.
According to the report, the son fled the scene as the father was calling dispatch.
Blood stains were located in the hallway, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms.
Cody G. Carroll, 25, Elko was arrested April 5 on a felony warrant for battery and conspiracy to commit criminal contempt.
ELKO – A local LGBT activist arrested last year on multiple marijuana charges pleaded guilty Monday to a single count of conspiracy to commit possession of a controlled substance.
In a plea agreement, Steven H. Christean, 50, admitted to District Judge Nancy Porter he had more than one ounce of marijuana in his car on March 19, 2016, when he was arrested.
A pre-sentence investigation report has been filed to determine the penalty Christean faces when he is sentenced July 17.
According to previous reports, Christean was pulled over in Carlin when officers noticed he was unable to maintain his travel lane. The odor of marijuana coming from the car prompted a search of his vehicle where authorities found containers labeled with prices and other drug paraphernalia.
Christean was then arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession to sell a controlled substance, use or possession of drug paraphernalia, and failure to maintain a lane or improper lane change.
According to Elko Justice Court documents in an unrelated matter from 2009, Christean also reached a plea bargain after being arrested for possessing materials with the intent to make explosive devices — one of which was contained in a soda bottle filled with chemicals and foil. It went off about 20 feet from the officer who investigated the scene by Aaron’s Furniture Store on Mountain City Highway.
Christean faced two counts of unlawful possession of explosives, but a plea agreement resulted in him pleading guilty to disturbing the peace and paying a $150 fine.
Christean has been a vocal supporter of LGBT and transgender issues in Elko, organizing a parade for the group in 2015 and a festival in 2016.
WEST WENDOVER – Internet records revealed the selling of a stolen gun to a pawn shop in Twin Falls.
According to the criminal complaint, Clifford B. Sweat, 36, of Honolulu was responsible for storing a number of guns, ammunition, protective gear, bows and arrows owned by a friend. Sometime after this agreement, Sweat claimed to have been burglarized and said that his possessions were returned to him; however, a couple of guns were unaccounted for. The owner of the weapons became suspicious but Sweat denied any involvement.
After the owner of the guns reported the theft to West Wendover police and provided box ends with serial numbers of the two missing guns, police were able to research the disappearance of the weapons on LeadsOnline, a technology service that aids law enforcement in apprehending criminals.
Police said the search revealed that Sweat sold a Rock River Arms AR-15 black rifle for $500 to a pawn shop in Twin Falls, with a serial number that matched the one provided by the owner.
Sweat was arrested April 3 on a felony warrant for grand larceny of a gun and owning or possessing a gun by a prohibited person.
ELKO – A Carlin man allegedly threatened the principal of the combined school.
According to Carlin Police Chief Dennis Fobes, Caden L. McClellan, 19, told another teacher he wanted to physically harm the principle about three weeks ago.
At the time, McClellan was a student at the school.
“He was at the school and had a discussion and told somebody that if he had the chance to shoot the principal he would,” said Fobes.
Police were called and McClellan, who was wanted on other charges, had his bail revoked and was arrested the same day. The school also suspended him. He later signed himself out of school as an adult.
“We take that seriously,” said Fobes. “Carlin is a small town so until we had him in custody we did extra patrols near her house and at the school. He is currently out of custody. We definitely keep an eye on him and he has been told he cannot be around the school.”
McClellan was arrested on charges of disturbing the police and threatening to cause bodily harm or death to a pupil or school employee by means of oral, written or electronic communication.
ELKO — A Spring Creek man is facing felony charges of lewdness with a minor.
A criminal complaint filed Tuesday in Elko Justice Court accuses Kalvin A. Pedersen, 18, of lewdness with an 11-year-old Elko girl on multiple occasions, the latest being in October 2016.
The alleged victim told an Elko police officer in March that Pedersen had forced her to touch him in an inappropriate manner at or near Croydon Drive in Spring Creek. According to a police statement filed with the complaint, the girl was forced to touch him outside of his clothing on four occasions and one time he forced her hand into the front of his pants to touch his genitals.
Although the alleged crime occurred under county jurisdiction, Elko police said they performed the investigation at the request of the district attorney’s office “because of a possible conflict with a county employee” who is a relative of the suspect.
Pedersen is being charged with two counts of lewdness with a child under 14 years of age. He has not been arrested but a summons was in the process of being prepared Thursday, court officials said.
ELKO – A wave of arrests the last few weeks in sexual assault cases going back as much as six years are the result of a new policy established in the District Attorney’s office.
District Attorney Tyler Ingram recently discussed how his office is working to ensure a backlog does not occur again.
Since becoming DA in October following the death of Mark Torvinen last summer, Ingram began sorting through an estimated 3,400 cases with 340 pending, according to a previous interview.
Some of those included sexual abuse of adults and children, along with child physical abuse.
“Quite a few of those sexual assault cases charged recently were prior to my becoming DA,” said Ingram.
In reviewing the backlog Ingram said at least three reasons became evident, including the wait for supplemental information in an investigation and waiting for DNA evidence to come back from the crime lab in Washoe County.
“Washoe County crime lab does an amazing job for us” as busy as they are, said Ingram.
According to their website, the Washoe County’s forensic science division serves 13 of the 17 counties in Nevada and 80 agencies. Elko is the third busiest county when it comes to criminal cases, Ingram said.
The third reason for the delays came down to the fact that someone made a mistake and a case sat too long, said Ingram, a factor that he felt was unacceptable for such sensitive cases.
“These are cases I take seriously,” said Ingram. “I place greater emphasis on these cases, along with homicide, of course.”
To recognize the importance of the case to the victim, Ingram recently implemented a policy that begins with placing a red sticker on a file when it is handed to an attorney. A file with this sticker means that the case involves child sexual abuse, physical abuse or adult sexual abuse and must be charged immediately.
“If not, I am notified,” said Ingram.
“These three types of cases are the most complicated we handle for a number of reasons,” he explained.
Ingram said he understands that much is riding on how these cases are prosecuted, and that the public wants to see justice done quickly, which means that the prosecutors are “making sure the cases are investigated to the best of our ability.”
Noting the number of cases his prosecutors handle – estimated at anywhere from 500-600 per attorney – Ingram knows that they have a heavy workload, one that could increase in the next few months. One attorney recently retired and can’t be replaced until the county’ hiring freeze ends.
“I’m not placing blame,” said Ingram. “The County Commissioners are working hard to fill positions,” however, “it is going to affect us.”
In response to cases of child physical and sexual abuse that are reported in the county, the Great Basin Child Advocacy center was formed in the last couple of years by a group of professionals.
“It’s in its infancy,” said Ingram, explaining that the center is composed of members of law enforcement agencies, medical professionals, counselors and social workers. Ingram is a prosecutor on the team.
The advocacy center seeks to address these cases in the community.
“It’s awesome work that group is doing,” Ingram said.
“Mistakes are very, very few,” Ingram said. “I am not making excuses to allow a child sexual abuse case to sit too long, but with my new policy, we are going to make sure these cases are handled properly.”
CARLIN – A Carlin man is suspected of beating and attempting to stab his elderly roommate Saturday.
Police were called to a bar in Carlin where a man told authorities his roommate, Lee Elliott, 56, had assaulted him and tried to stab him, but the knife went into a table instead, according to Police Chief Dennis Fobes.
The roommate escaped the residence with help from another man and ended up at the bar to call police, said Fobes.
Police arrived at the residence where Elliott had barricaded himself in his bedroom, fought with officers and was tazed before being arrested, Fobes said.
The victim of the beating is over 62 and is on oxygen, Fobes added.
Elliott was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, coercion, domestic battery and false statement to obstruct a police officer. His bail is set at $29,280.
WEST WENDOVER – A man called in a bomb threat from the casino he was gambling at in West Wendover on Saturday.
Cayden Burke, 22, of Murray, Utah, allegedly called the operator of the Montego Bay Resort to report a bomb was in the building, according to Lt. Don Lininger.
The suspect used a house phone by the front desk, allowing casino personnel to trace the time of the call and view surveillance footage to see what phone was used, said Lininger.
Authorities identified a male on the phone at the time the call was placed and found Burke at the craps table where he was interviewed and arrested by West Wendover police for making a bomb threat, Lininger said.
ELKO – A Spring Creek man suspected of being intoxicated spit in an officer’s face while being arrested early Saturday morning, according to police.
Authorities saw Armando Quesada-Trujillo at 2 a.m. Saturday in front of Cowboys Bar while he was being removed from the establishment. He was walking backwards into the street, recording the incident on his phone and yelling into it, said Elko Police Lt. Ty Trouten.
The suspect tried to break away when the officer attempted to take him into custody, according to Trouten.
Quesada-Trujillo allegedly then kicked an officer and spit in another officer’s face, added Trouten.
The suspect was charged with battery on an officer, an unlawful act related to human bodily fluid, resisting a public officer, and as an intoxicated pedestrian on the road. His bail was set at $23,755.
ELKO – A California man was arrested Thursday after being charged with multiple counts of sexual assault on a teenage boy.
According to the criminal complaint, Alfredo Puentes, 49, of Long Beach was arrested at the Elko County Jail on a felony warrant. The investigating officer stated that the abuse started in 2005 when the child was 13 with Puentes showing the victim a pornographic movie.
Subsequent instances of oral sex and other sexual acts amounting to 40 or more took place over the next six years in Puentes’ northside home and in his vehicles, according to the complaint. Several of the contacts allegedly occurred when Puentes was cutting the boy’s hair.
The allegations were reported to police in July 2015.
Puentes was charged in March with one count of sexual assault against a child under the age of 14 and 10 counts of sexual assault.
ELKO – A former employee of a local gas station is accused of making several purchases at the station with a bogus credit card number.
According to the criminal complaint, over the course of six days Helen M. Souliere, 37, of Elko went to the station and bought a variety of goods from several employees using a credit card number she had memorized. She told the employees her card was at home or broken.
Surveillance of the transactions provided by the business alerted police to the crime.
During a visit to see Souleriere about a temporary protection order requested by her husband, police also questioned her about the purchases. She told them her divorce had put her in a tight spot and she had used card numbers written on a paper she had found on her table. She claimed she did not know who left the paper in her residence.
Souliere, who goes by six other aliases, was arrested on a felony warrant April 17 for three counts of burglary and three counts of using a credit card, debit card, or identification without the owner’s consent.
ELKO – One prisoner who allegedly assaulted another was apparently angry over a drug transaction rumor that started before they were jailed.
Andrew J. Hockenberry, 22, of Elko was arrested April 18 in Elko County Jail on a felony warrant for battery by a prisoner on a protected person.
According to the criminal complaint, a fight broke out in Mary Block and officers were called to the scene. One inmate had blood all over his face, uniform and arms.
The injured man claimed he did nothing to provoke the fight and that he did not fight back because he was up for probation and did not want any trouble. He told the attending officer that Hockenberry attacked him over a rumor and that the two knew each other outside prison in the drug world.
During an interview with the alleged aggressor, an officer asked Hockenberry what was going on.
Hockenberry reportedly said, “I am not a ‘cho-mo’” (child molester).
Hockenberry claimed the other man had called him that. He also refused to answer the officer when asked who threw the first punch.
Video surveillance of the event revealed that Hockenberry was the aggressor and that the other man merely held his hands up to defend himself.
ELKO – An Elko man who was sought by police on a misdemeanor warrant is facing felony charges after he allegedly resisted officers.
According to Police Lt. Ty Trouten, officers went to the residence of Ryan D. Fosmo, 42, to serve him a misdemeanor warrant. When Fosmo answered the door he became agitated and was not cooperative with police. After officers handcuffed Fosmo and took him to the squad car he turned to face the officers and kicked at them, Trouten said.
“The officers tried to tell him this is just a misdemeanor and there is no need to make it serious,” said Trouten, “but he tried to resist and commit battery so now we are looking at felony charges. Sometimes people are stopped for citations and actually go to jail because they do not want to cooperate fully.”
Fosmo was released from prison earlier in the year, said Trouten.
An Elko judge sentenced Fosmo to prison for up to 11 years in 2012 for grand theft of scrap metal and possession of a firearm by an ex-felon.
Fosmo was arrested Thursday for domestic battery; assault on a protected person; resisting a public officer; intimidating a public officer or others; and damaging jail property worth less than $5,000.
ELKO – An Elko man has been arrested on five counts of lewdness with a child that allegedly began nearly 18 months ago.
William Lyn Anderson, 49, was arrested April 20 in Spring Creek on a warrant alleging two counts of lewdness with a child, attempted lewdness with a child, open or gross lewdness in the presence of a child, attempted open or gross lewdness in the presence of a child, and unlawful contact with a child under 16 years of age.
The victim was between the age of 14 and 15 at the time of the alleged abuse, from October 2015 to May 2016, according to the criminal complaint.
Anderson was living with the victim and the victim’s mother at the time the abuse occurred, said the complaint.
SPRING CREEK – A young man riding with his parents to a treatment program leapt from the moving vehicle.
According to Undersheriff Ron Supp, deputies were dispatched to the intersection of Palace Parkway and Lamoille Highway at around 8 a.m. Thursday. A man reportedly jumped from a car and ran across the highway, nearly being hit by oncoming vehicles.
Officers met with the parents and saw the man walking down the road. They made contact with him and he admitted to using drugs a couple of days ago, said Supp.
Drug recognition testing was being done by ambulance workers when Collin J. Burgess, 22, of Spring Creek tried to leave and became aggressive toward authorities.
Officers believed Burgess was under the influence of a controlled substance and arrested him for felony use of or being under the influence of a controlled substance. No injuries were reported.
ELKO – Two Elko County Jail inmates are accused of a beating that sent another inmate to the hospital.
According to court records, a jailed man was discovered to have a black eye during evening count. The inmate said two men had battered him after his roommate was discharged but he would not reveal the aggressors.
The incarcerated man complained of pain in his right ear, left eye, jaw and right arm. He also said he was nauseous. The jail doctor was called in and advised the victim should be taken to the hospital.
The reporting officer said, “The inmate threw up on himself en route to Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital.”
The attending physician took X-rays and advised the victim needed follow-up at Renown Hospital within a week. The inmate was returned to Elko County Jail with medication and was removed to protective custody until his sentencing.
Authorities said surveillance video revealed that Bryant W. Donahue, 29, of Spring Creek and Cody G. Carroll, 25, of Elko were responsible for the beating. Carroll was arrested April 5 for battery by a prisoner on a protected person and conspiracy to commit criminal contempt. Donahue was arrested April 27 for failure to appear after bail on a misdemeanor crime; battery by a prisoner on a protected person; and conspiracy to commit battery by a prisoner.
Bail for Donahue was listed at $47,500. Bail for Carroll was listed at $22,500.
ELKO – Two people were arrested at a local motel early Friday morning after refusing entry to police officers.
According to Elko Police Lt. Ty Trouten, a female who passed a counterfeit $20 bill was identified and located Thursday night.
At around 2:30 a.m. Friday officers went to her motel room but the inhabitants refused entry. Police obtained a search warrant but when they returned they were still required to physically push in the door.
Shawna M. Parker, 22, and Casey D. Overacker, 34, of Elko were inside. Trouten said Parker had two additional counterfeit bills and a small amount of heroin in her possession. Drug paraphernalia was also found in the room.
Parker was arrested on three counts of forgery; possession of a controlled substance; burglary; two counts of use or possession of drug paraphernalia; and destroying or concealing evidence.
Overacker was arrested on two counts of use or possession of drug paraphernalia and destroying or concealing evidence.
Bail for Overacker was listed at $3,280 and bail for Parker was listed at $43,280.
“When we stress about drug crimes it’s not just about use and consumption of illegal substances,” said Trouten. “It often entails property crime, fraud, forgeries, and, in this case, counterfeiting.”
ELKO – A man allegedly came in through the side door of a relative’s home while the person slept and left with keys and a car.
According to the criminal complaint, Robert L. Martinez-Obrien, 22, of Elko entered the home on April 28 through a door that did not close properly, got into his relative’s purse, took the keys, and left with her boyfriend’s car.
One victim claims Martinez-Obrien left through the front door, locking the main lock but not the deadbolt that she had locked before going to sleep.
While police questioned the victims Martinez-Obrien returned. Officers asked him if he had taken the car and he said he did but came in through an unlocked front door.
Martinez-Obrien admitted to knowing that he did not have permission to use the vehicle, police said. The officer placed him under arrest, searched him, and discovered tin foil with burn marks on it, leading him to believe it was connected to heroin use.
Martinez-Obrien was charged with burglary; possessing, receiving, or transferring a stolen vehicle; and use or possession of drug paraphernalia.
ELKO – An Elko man pleaded guilty in district court to one count of attempted sexual assault of a child under 16 years old.
Daniel Charles Cooke, 36, was sentenced Thursday by Elko District Judge Nancy Porter to 20 years in prison with credit for 244 days served in jail. He is eligible for parole in eight years, according to court records.
Cooke must also register as a sex offender.
He was arrested August 27 on one count of sexual assault of a child under the age of 14 after admitting to police detectives he assaulted a 13-year old girl who was also a family member, according to Free Press files.
ELKO – An Elko man pleaded no contest to one count of unlawful contact with a child under 16 years old stemming from an incident in October.
Jonathan Paul Diaz, 30, gave his plea in Elko District Court Department II to Judge Al Kacin for the charge, which is a gross misdemeanor, and was sentenced in Elko to 250 days in jail with credit for 145 days served.
Diaz was arrested Oct. 15, 2016 on a charge of lewdness with a child under 14 after police were called to a Northside Drive residence by the victim’s mother, who heard her daughter scream and found Diaz by the girl’s bed, according to Free Press files.
The juvenile told her mother that Diaz had touched her inappropriately.
ELKO – A Spring Creek man was booked and released from Elko County Jail on Monday, accused of shooting and killing a dog that had been attacking his chickens.
James R. Wrenfrow, 73, was arrested after being arraigned in Elko Justice Court on charges of injuring an animal and unlawful discharge of a firearm.
Undersheriff Ron Supp said the case is typical of the type of dog problems that have plagued the sprawling community. He said Wrenfrow had reported a dog was killing his chickens, but when he shot the dog it was not on his property.
“Technically, if a dog is actively attacking your livestock you can kill it,” Supp said, but in this case it was walking down the road. It is also unlawful to fire a weapon on a public street.
The sheriff’s office has been working with the Spring Creek Association to study ways to control animal problems. Most cases involve dogs running at large, sometimes biting people or pets. Offenders could be issued a citation or be fined by the association.
“One thing people can do to avoid these things is make sure their dog stays home,” Supp advised.
Animal cruelty charges such as this one can result in jail time up to six months and fines up to $1,000.
ELKO – A Starr Valley man found guilty of statutory sexual seduction was sentenced in Tuesday in Elko District Court.
Javier Santiago, 23, was given a suspended sentence of six years maximum in prison, placed on probation for five years, and ordered to serve 270 days in jail with credit for 22 days served by District Judge Al Kacin.
Santiago was further ordered to register as a sex offender, have no contact with the victim, or have contact or communication with a person less than 18 years of age in a secluded environment unless an adult who has never been convicted of a sexual offense is present and permission has been obtained by his parole officer, and not possess any electronic device capable of accessing the internet or access the internet through any such device unless it is approved by his parole officer.
Santiago pleaded guilty in December to the lesser charge of statutory sexual seduction, a category B felony, in a plea deal which dropped charges of lewdness with a child under the age of 16 and sexual assault on a child under the age of 16, according to Free Press files.
The incident reportedly occurred in 2015 and Santiago was arrested Oct. 14. Police reports stated he was dating the victim at the time.
ELKO – An Elko man will serve time in prison after pleading guilty in a hit-and-run that killed a local businessman crossing a downtown street last June.
Daniel John Vasu, 28, entered his plea Monday before District Judge Nancy Porter on one count of failure to stop at the scene of an accident involving personal injury or death, a category B felony.
The count carries a “maximum of 20 years in the Nevada State prison, a fine of $5,000 and is not probational,” said District Attorney David Buchler.
Vasu was accused of driving a Jeep Cherokee SUV and striking Elko Federal Credit Union President Doug Schwartz the evening of June 22 as he crossed Commercial Street in front of Machi’s Saloon and Grill.
Before Vasu entered his plea under an agreement with the Elko District Attorney’s office, Porter asked him if he understood that “probation is not available on this charge and that prison is therefore mandatory.”
“Yes, I do,” said Vasu, who was reportedly employed in the mining industry at the time of his arrest.
Vasu’s attorney Sherburne Macfarlan explained the essential terms and conditions of the agreement to the court that in exchange for a guilty plea “the state agreed they will not pursue any other charges.”
After pleading guilty, Porter asked Vasu to tell the court what made him guilty of this crime.
“On or around June 23, 2016, in this county of Elko, I operated a motor vehicle on a highway when I struck and injured a pedestrian,” Vasu said. “I then willfully failed to stop and remain at the scene and provide medical assistance and/or provide any of my personal (assistance) to law enforcement,” Vasu concluded.
Schwartz died of his injuries at Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital later that night.
Witnesses standing nearby the night of the incident took a photo of the vehicle, which was used on social media and news outlets to locate Vasu. He was arrested the following morning.
Vasu has been out on bail since June 28, according to Macfarlan.
A date for sentencing has not been set; however, Buchler confirmed to the court that “the state’s portion of the sentencing hearing would take one and one-half hours” to include victim impact statements.
ELKO – An Elko woman was apprehended after allegedly breaking into a vehicle in the Red Lion parking lot.
Crystal L. Gilliland, 38, was arrested on a charge of grand larceny of an automobile Monday morning when Elko police arrived at the scene after getting a call claiming that Gilliland was going through the vehicle.
According to Police Lt. Ty Trouten the woman tried to walk away from the vehicle once she saw police approaching and claimed she attempted to enter the car to pet a dog that was inside the car.
Trouten said Gilliland appeared to be looking for a way to get the car started.
Police interviewed the car’s owner.
“He had left the vehicle about an hour before and secured the vehicle and he did have a dog inside the vehicle with the windows down,” he said. “He came out and noticed she was in the driver seat of the vehicle and going through the console and the glove box and it looked like she was attempting to start the vehicle.”
WEST WENDOVER – Two Utah men were arrested for allegedly trying to cash fraudulent checks at the Peppermill Casino and the Rainbow Casino in West Wendover.
West Wendover police originally responded to a call Monday from security at the Rainbow Casino where they arrested Sonny Morrison for attempting to cash a fraudulent check. When he was arrested, Morrison revealed information that led to the arrest of Tyler Lundell, who was allegedly trying to cash forged checks at the Peppermill Casino.
According to Police Lt. Don Lininger, both Lundell and Morrison attempted to cash business checks. Morrison was detained when the casino suspected the check to be counterfeit.
When police caught up with Lundell they reportedly found several more fraudulent checks in a briefcase he was carrying, along with fake identification documents. Lininger said it is a common for people who try to cash fraudulent checks to also have fraudulent identification.
“Typically what these guys will do is they’ll make up names and they make checks out in the names they’ve created and they make fake IDs to match the check, and that’s what it looked like they were trying to do here,” he said. “They found those five fake IDs inside the briefcase and historically in previous investigations we’ve found where they’ll actually print checks to match the fake or stolen ID.”
Lundell was charged with five counts of forgery and five counts of use, forgery or counterfeit of an invalid driver’s license. Police also reported they found drug paraphernalia and a hypodermic device in his suitcase. Lundell’s bail was $40,857.
Morrison was charged with intent to utter a fictitious bill, note or check and false statement to obstruct a public officer. His bail was $5,640.
ELKO – A Wells man found guilty of pointing a pistol at two people in September was sentenced in district court Wednesday.
Kelly Don Bergman, 50, pleaded guilty to two counts of aiming a firearm at a human being. Judge Al Kacin gave him two suspended sentences of 364 days in jail to run concurrently with each other, and ordered him to serve 30 days in jail, obtain substance abuse and mental health evaluations, have no contact with the victims, and possess no firearms.
Bergman was arrested Sept. 18 after he followed a car to a Wells home and left his vehicle as a couple stepped out of their car, according to Free Press files.
The driver’s father came out of the house and asked Bergman to explain why he followed his son home, to which Bergman took his pistol out of his car and pointed it at the driver’s girlfriend, who had been told to get inside the house by the driver’s father.
After the driver’s father pointed his own rifle at Bergman, Bergman left the residence and was apprehended later that day.
Bergman had been free on bail since Sept. 20 and was bound over to district court Jan. 20, according to justice court records.
SPRING CREEK– A Spring Creek man was arrested for driving under the influence after an accident caused his vehicle to flip over into someone’s front yard.
Michael Smith, 21, was arrested when Elko County Sheriff’s deputies found him inside of the vehicle that was flipped onto its roof around midnight Wednesday morning at 711 Palace Parkway in Spring Creek.
The cause of the accident is unknown and appeared to be a single-car incident with no injuries or property damage noted.
Elko County Undersheriff Ron Supp said Smith was lucky to avoid serious injuries while also not doing any notable damage to anyone else’s property.
“A lot of those places around there don’t have fences or anything so he might have lucked out except for getting arrested,” he said.
ELKO – An Elko woman is facing charges of embezzlement and grand larceny after allegedly getting caught stealing from Raley’s.
Patrice J. McDarment, 46, was caught by the supermarket’s internal security stealing money and merchandise over the last four months of her employment, according to Elko Police Sgt. Anthony Matthews.
Mathews said it is common for stores to gather information internally before approaching law enforcement with their findings.
“They found out because the money from the register wasn’t matching up with whatever deposits they had into the safe,” he said. “From there, they usually conduct their own investigation, check surveillance and try to figure out a time frame to figure out which employees were working at that time, especially in a place like Raley’s where there are numerous employees.”
It can be difficult for businesses to get back their lost profits even after an arrest has been made. Mathews said the money is often spent by the time a suspect is caught.
“A lot of time with the embezzlement cases they don’t want to get caught so they take a little bit at a time and they spend it elsewhere so they don’t have the money,” he said.
ELKO – The Elko Police Department is encouraging people to be on the lookout for a string of scam phone calls.
According to Sgt. Anthony Mathews the calls are coming from the Alaskan area code of 907 with the caller claiming to represent the police department and warning the call recipient that they have outstanding warrants.
The scammers then threaten the people they call by saying they will be arrested on those warrants unless they pay some kind of fee.
There have only been three such calls reported to police so far but Mathews said it is important to know that no representative from the department would make a phone call like that to make a warrant arrest.
“We don’t operate like that,” he said. “If I know someone has some warrants I’ll try to make contact with them at their residence and that’s only when we’re actively looking for them. A lot of time when people get arrested on warrants we just run into to them during traffic stops or other contact.”
ELKO – A dispute between two families resulted in an arrest after an Elko man allegedly fired five shots from his rifle.
The dispute occurred in the early morning hours Monday near Castle Rock Road. Elko Police Department arrested one male suspect for consuming alcohol under the age of 21, but witnesses at the scene are claiming the suspect also fired several rounds from a rifle during the argument.
Police Sgt. Jason Pepper said the suspect was only arrested for underage drinking but he could be facing more charges.
“There was alcohol involved. One of the family members pulled out a rifle and fired four or five shots into the air,” he said. “They seized the rifle and the ammunition and they submitted for charges on the person who fired the rifle for discharging a firearm within City limits.”
There were no injuries or property damage reported.
ELKO – The message may be old, but it is worth repeating: don’t get in a car with a driver who has been drinking.
Three Carlin families can explain why it is important to heed these instructions after a Chevy pickup overturned on Interstate 80 in the early morning hours of Oct. 4, 2014, killing Jeremiah Stills, 18, and severely injuring Caleb Collins, also 18.
The driver and owner of the pickup, Asay C. Crofts, 24, survived with minor injuries. He was later arrested and charged with two counts of driving under the influence causing death or substantial bodily harm to another.
After a trial in Elko District Court presided by Judge Al Kacin was declared a mistrial in 2016, the case was retried and Crofts was found guilty by a jury Feb. 15. On Friday, he was sentenced by Kacin to serve five years in prison on each count consecutively, which is an aggregate of 10 years with a minimum of four years in prison. He was also ordered to pay $2,000 in fines for each count.
The maximum penalty of 20 years and a $5,000 fine on each count was not sought by the State or the Collins and Stills families.
According to District Attorney Chad Thompson, the lives of the Stills and Collins families and the Carlin community were changed due to the wrong choices made that night.
“Jeremiah Stills lost his life (and) Caleb Collins lost the life he once knew and he will never be the same again,” Thompson said. “The consequences to the family have been devastating and will continue to be so.”
“In a case like this, it’s tempting to think three guys went out drinking and got what they deserve — no they didn’t,” said Thompson, who admitted into evidence Stills’ toxicology report indicating his blood alcohol level was .055 and he was below the legal limit at the time he died.
“They could be the poster child of graduation parties that are being planned …. what not to do,” Thompson continued.
“Their choice to get in the truck (was) bad and their choices to go out and drink were bad, no doubt, but Mr. Crofts’ choice … to get behind the wheel and drive them down Interstate 80 trumps them all,” said Thompson.
Thompson explained the consequences for each of the men in the truck that night.
“For their choices, Jeremiah Stills — for choosing to get into that truck — he paid with his life. Caleb Collins paid with his life, because they will never be the same. Asay Crofts will pay according to the statute … we’re recommending four to 10 years on each count, because each life matters.”
“It’s not just for this case, it’s to send a message to everyone, that this sort of thing is not OK.”
Thompson argued for his recommendation, explaining that “to give Mr. Crofts a light sentence at this point … says ‘well, everybody that gets in the truck it’s their own choice, you’re accountable for it.’ That’s not fair. They paid with their lives. Give him a light sentence, he’ll be out in a couple of years. That’s not right and that’s why we’re asking four to 10 years on each count.”
Defense attorney Gary Woodbury asked for Crofts to receive the minimum sentence of two to five years for each count to be served concurrently, but didn’t believe that a “deterrent effect” would take place by sentencing Crofts to more time in prison.
“The state thinks that if you socked him good and hard with a sentence, that admonition is going to come into play at graduation parties,” said Woodbury. “Young men are high risk people (and) that’s what they do. Whether they should do it or not, whether they think about it or should think about the harm that will cause their family and grief that comes; it’s all well and good, (but) young men are high risk people.”
“I know that Mothers Against Drunk Driving and ten thousand other organizations think you will have a deterrent effect, but you’re not,” he said later.
“It doesn’t end there (as) I’m sure their parents told them not only don’t get in a car with a drunk driver, but for heaven’s sakes if that drunk driver somehow starts to drive funny, do something to stop him. Tell him to stop and let you out,” said Woodbury, reminding the court that Collins testified the truck was speeding at 85 mph and it was shaking before the crash.
Woodbury further argued that the crash “wasn’t an intentional act … (it was) negligence essentially.”
“This isn’t a guy who did something deliberately, at least 100 percent deliberately,” said Woodbury. “Why does he have to get punished more than the minimum?”
Crofts read a statement to the court and to the Stills and Collins’s families: “This has been a drastic, life-changing event for everybody involved. Mine and the other families lives will never be the same. I’m sorry for that.”
Apologizing for the death of Stills and injuries to Collins, Crofts also apologized for “the pain that he and the families have had to endure and will continue to endure. I have nothing but love for the families ... I hope they can find it one day in their hearts to forgive me.”
Thompson read a letter to the court written by Stills’ father Kevin, which said “holidays will never be the same without Jeremiah,” adding how the two hardest things in his life was to lose his son and then try to help his children get through the loss of their brother.
Thompson said Kevin Stills has “crumbled through the stress of (the loss) with anxiety” and was unable to attend the sentencing due to a medical appointment for his heart.
“He’s not concerned about monetary values, but he does want you to understand the impact this has had on their family,” Thompson said.
Other family members said they felt a loss in their lives without Jeremiah, with his sister Bailey telling the court that she lost “her brother, best friend and role model” and he would never get to meet her newborn son.
His mother, Joey Gardner, is still struggling with the loss.
“I miss my son every day,” Gardner said through her tears. “He was good and kind and he loved life so much.”
Stills’ sister and mother agreed that Crofts did not need to be sentenced to the maximum penalty, with Gardner stating that the family felt the four- to 10-year sentence was appropriate, however, wrong choices did factor in to the death and injury of the young men that night.
“I’ve been angry with my son … for getting in that truck. Ultimately that was his decision. It cost him his life,” said Gardner.
“I hope this is a lesson (for) not only the three in the truck, but to everyone around,” Stills said. “I feel like everybody has a punishment that they’re going to get: my brother is gone, he died, Caleb … is not the same he used to be but he’s dealing with it, and Asay, I’m sure he goes through it every day.”
Before sentencing Crofts, Kacin addressed the impact the crash had on everyone involved, including the community of Carlin, and noted that due to Crofts’ age, “it makes for a difficult sentencing.”
Kacin also stated that “DUI is not mere negligence. This is a criminal act and it’s criminalized in our statutes just like it’s criminalized in every other state in the country,” referring to Woodbury’s argument earlier in the sentencing hearing.
“Anybody who is drinking … smoking marijuana … using prescription pills to excess, texting and driving … if you’re going to do that, you’re ultimately responsible for the injuries that result,” Kacin continued.
Kacin also said he has hope that the story of the three young men and Crofts sentencing will be used to make teens think twice about graduation activities.
“I do hope … Jeremiah’s death, Caleb’s suffering, and (the) families’ suffering is not in vain. I hope that’s out there in Carlin, I hope those kids are listening to it, I hope there (are) some general deterrents and I think there can be, by the way. I’m not the skeptic that Mr. Woodbury is.”
“They could be the poster child of graduation parties that are being planned …. what not to do.” — Chad Thompson, Deputy district attorney
ELKO — A teacher at Wells Elementary School was arrested Monday afternoon on charges of engaging in sexual activity with high school students at Wells Combined School.
Tennille Whitaker, 40, has been charged with eight counts of sexual conduct with a pupil. According to Elko County Undersheriff Ron Supp, there are two alleged victims between the ages of 16 and 18 who were high school students at the time the contact occurred.
Whitaker has been working with the school district full time for 11 years. She was released from jail Tuesday afternoon on $160,000 bail.
Elko County School District Superintendent Jeff Zander said keeping students safe is the district’s highest priority.
“The teacher has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending full investigation and we’re fully cooperating with the sheriff’s office to facilitate the investigation,” he said. “The Elko County School District takes this very seriously and we have policies in place to prohibit this type of conduct. As I stated earlier, the safety of our students is the highest priority.”
The school district plans to keep Whitaker on paid administrate leave to prevent her from trying to return to work before the investigation is complete.
The alleged incidents occurred over a two-year span, with some incidents occurring on school grounds. The Elko County Sheriff’s Department began investigating the allegations in October of last year after receiving a tip from a concerned parent who noticed Whitaker was behind closed classroom doors with a student and thought it was inappropriate.
The school district began conducting its own investigation in February, speaking to teachers and faculty at Wells Combined School. Students who were interviewed for the investigation claimed they were unaware of any sexual activity between Whitaker and students.
Even though she had not yet been charged, the school district issued a written warning to Whitaker that reinforced the district’s policy regarding professional boundaries between staff and students.
Both the sheriff’s and the school district’s investigations met with resistance.
“Nobody was really willing to testify or give a statement that said ‘yes, this happened,’” Zander said.
Supp said the investigation is ongoing and wanted to encourage anyone with more information to reach out.
“At this point in the investigation we have two students that have been involved but we think there are possibly more,” he said. “The investigation is still ongoing so we would ask anybody that has any further information on any possible victims or anybody that has any information to contact our detective division at our sheriff’s office.”
Because it was difficult to get witnesses to come forward the sheriff’s department had to gather a lot of information on its own.
According the school district, there was no information shared between the sheriffs department and the district.
Supp said the investigation was somewhat unconventional.
“We did some unconventional investigation. We did a lot of surveillance and some things like that and we were able to gather a lot of information that led us to circle around and we finally got down to the arrest yesterday.”
In light of the arrest, the school district may reexamine its social media policy. It is unclear if Whitaker made contact with students on social media and there are already rules in place prohibiting contact between students and teachers on social media, but Zander said it may be time to update the guidelines.
“A lot of these particular issues that we’re dealing with have to do with social networking and relationship-building from a social networking side of things,” he said. “We have a policy in place to try to expressly prohibit those conversations taking place that create personal relationships ... we will probably bring this policy back to the board of trustees to expand that policy somewhat.”
While the school district works to create more stringent guidelines regulating student-teacher interaction, the sheriff’s department is still looking to get people to come forward regarding any inappropriate interaction Whitaker may have had with students.
Supp said even small pieces of information can help turn a case.
“If there are any other witnesses or any other victims or anything out there, regardless of how small or how big it is, we’d ask them to call us,” he said.
ELKO — An Elko man was arrested Tuesday on charges of burglary at a Spring Creek home where he allegedly attempted to steal a gun safe.
Derek Wyatt, 33, was arrested for two counts of grand larceny of a gun and burglary while possessing a deadly weapon or gun.
Wyatt was identified as a suspect for a burglary that took place June 2 and admitted to trying to remove a gun safe that held a rifle and a pistol, according to Elko County Undersheriff Ron Supp.
The safe also contained two pellet guns but Wyatt did not receive additional gun theft charges for them since they are not considered firearms.
According to Supp, Wyatt knew the safe contained two firearms when he attempted to remove it from the Spring Creek home.
Supp said his department has a lot of success making an arrest after interviewing suspects in cases like this and pointed out that small details can help point them in the right direction of a suspect.
“That actually happens quite a bit once you develop a suspect,” he said. “Sometimes it’s fingerprint evidence, car tracks, footprints or maybe someone seeing someone in an area. Sometimes little things that people don’t even pay much attention to can solve a case.”
ELKO – The Elko County School District is hoping to tighten up its regulations policing interactions between students and teachers in the wake of a teacher’s arrest on sex charges.
Tennille Whitaker is a fourth-grade teacher who was arrested Monday afternoon on charges of engaging in sexual conduct with two high school students at Wells Combined School.
Whitaker, 40, has since posted bail and is on paid administrative leave while the investigation continues.
Elko County School District Superintendent Jeff Zander thinks Whitaker’s arrest come as a result of violating the regulations the school district already has in place and did not think she exploited any kind of a loophole within the guidelines.
Even though it did not appear to be an issue in this case, Zander said he would like to take a look at the social media policy to ensure that teachers have clear guidelines to follow going forward.
“There’s a lot of gray area out there so we’ll try to tip-toe through this thing and try to prevent these conversations from becoming personal. We want these conversations to be informational only.”
Zander said Clark County School District is also looking into the issue and he has reached out to them to see how they amend their policies.
Providing more stringent guidelines to police interactions between students and teachers has not always been popular with the board of trustees.
The district first drafted regulations for maintaining professional boundaries between staff and students in February of 2012. The idea was met with resistance from some board members concerned the regulations would go too far and deter teachers from engaging in healthy personal relationships with their students.
The school district did eventually adopt a policy regulating these interactions during a meeting in April 2016 that was voted for unanimously but board president Thad Ballard said at the meeting that he was still concerned about the unintended consequences.
“The overall tone of the policy was cautionary, ‘be careful what you’re doing’,” he said at a school board meeting on April 12, 2016. “I wouldn’t want the policy to discourage anybody from having meaningful relationships with their students or their parents because we’ve adopted a policy to address poor choices of a very, very small minority of people.”
Zander is hoping that recent events will make the board less resistant to any suggested changes to the policy since similar incidents have highlighted the importance of having policies in place.
“We’re seeing more and more of this taking place. We haven’t seen these types of incidences take place in our schools,” he said. “Now I think it’s on everybody’s radar now and it’s important to put policies in place to protect our kids, our staff, the district and the community.”
The school district may look at the teacher conduct policy going forward but it feels like the mechanisms in place for reporting rules violations are working as intended.
A Wells employee reported that Whitaker was behind closed doors with a student, which put her in violation of district’s policy even though she had not yet been accused of any criminal activity.
Zander said the investigation hit a snag when witnesses were reluctant to come forward.
“You need to have people provide honest reports of what took place and, unfortunately, we just couldn’t get anything in writing with reports of what took place,” he said. “We couldn’t get anything in writing where anything had happened that was against the law.”
Assistant Superintendent Mike Smith said the school district also would have moved more quickly if the initial investigation by the Elko County Sheriff’s Department had produced more leads.
“Had that happened differently, had they called us after five weeks and given us something to follow up on, we would have run a parallel employment investigation at that point in time,” he said. “When the sheriff office calls you and says ‘our investigation turned up nothing’ then that’s what you’ve got.”
Despite some of the difficulties in enforcing some of the regulations Smith feels like the district has been proactive in designing its guidelines.
Smith helped draft the original guidelines after reading about similar policies that had been adopted in other school districts and feels like the school district will continue to be forward-looking with its rules.
“I think we’re ahead of the curve nationally,” he said. “I don’t think very few districts, back in 2012, had any inkling of boundaries. It was sort of a new thing.”
ELKO – An Elko man was arrested Wednesday evening after allegedly fleeing the scene of an accident on Jiggs Highway.
An off-duty sheriff’s deputy witnessed Cole Schick, 19, side-swiping another vehicle and called in the incident. He said Schick fled the scene, traveling down South Fork Road.
The sheriff’s department and Nevada Highway Patrol worked together to locate the driver and he was arrested by NHP less than half an hour later. Troopers reportedly found alcohol and a firearm in the vehicle.
Schick was charged with failure to drive on the right half of the road, minor in possession of alcoholic beverage, DUI, failure to stop at an accident, failure to report unattended vehicle or property damage, drinking alcohol while driving or in physical control of motor a vehicle, and possession of a gun under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The deputy followed Schick for a period of time after witnessing the accident but NHP Lt. James Simpson said a high-speed pursuit did not take place.
“The person took off and they kind of cordoned off the area and found the subject. There was no pursuit or anything,” he said.
ELKO – Two Elko men were arrested for allegedly trying to spend counterfeit money on Saturday.
Lester Thurman Jr. and Vernon Evans were both arrested in the parking lot of Scoreboard Bar and Grill for possessing forged bills, while Thurman was also charged with possession with intent to utter a fictitious bill.
According to Elko County Undersheriff Ron Supp, Thurman first tried to use a fake $20 bill at the Maverik in Spring Creek where a clerk noticed the bill was counterfeit. Thurman identified himself when the clerk asked for his name and the Maverik employee was able to get a description of the vehicle Thurman arrived in as well as a license plate number.
Deputies later caught up with the vehicle in the parking lot of Scoreboard with Evans and Thurman inside the vehicle.
Supp said Thurman admitted to deputies that he tried to spend the counterfeit bill at Maverik and that he received it from someone he did not know.
When Thurman gave deputies consent to search the car, another counterfeit $20 bill was found on the floor of the vehicle where Evans was sitting. Evans stated to deputies that Thurman had given him that $20 bill.
Supp said the counterfeit bill was easy to spot as it was not of a very high quality.
“They were both obviously counterfeit to the deputy that said even to the untrained eye you would have known it was a counterfeit bill, so he arrested them on those charges,” he said.
Thurman’s bail was listed at $10,000 while Vernon’s bail was $5,000.
ELKO – An Elko man is accused of stabbing someone he was working with during an argument Friday on Park Road.
Jeremy Gallaher, 26, faces a charge of assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly stabbing Jose Zatary when the two began arguing.
According to Sgt. Jason Pepper, the knife was recovered at the scene and Gallaher was found at his residence where he was arrested after being interviewed by the Elko Police Department.
Zataray suffered from a laceration on the left side of his chest and was treated at Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital where he was expected to be treated and released.
Pepper said it is unclear what started the argument but that the confrontation occurred while the two were working together.
“They were working on a shed or something together. They were pulling it apart for somebody,” he said. “Their stories differ on who swung first but they ended up in a fist fight that escalated to Jose getting stabbed.”
ELKO – A court date has been set for a Wells teacher accused of inappropriate conduct with two high school students.
Tennille Whitaker, 40, is scheduled to appear Sept. 11 in Elko Justice Court for a preliminary hearing.
Whitaker was arrested last week on eight counts of sexual conduct with a pupil. The alleged victims were two Wells High School students between the ages of 16 and 18, according to information provided by Undersheriff Ron Supp.
A criminal complaint has yet to be filed in justice court.
Whitaker was released from custody the day following her arrest on $160,000 bail.
ELKO – An Elko man who was suspected of resisting police serving a warrant pleaded no contest in justice court Thursday.
Ryan David Fosmo, 42, was given a suspended sentence of 170 days in jail and credit for 10 days served on one count of domestic battery, a misdemeanor offense, by Justice of the Peace Mason Simons, according to court records.
Fosmo must comply with the conditions of the suspended sentence for two years: maintain good conduct in the community, avoid alcohol and establishments that serve alcohol, and not consume drugs other than what is prescribed by a qualified medical care provider.
Fosmo was further ordered to complete 26 sessions of domestic violence counseling, 48 hours of community service, and pay $340 in court fees and fines.
According to police reports, Fosmo was arrested April 20 after officers arrived at his residence to serve a misdemeanor warrant on an unrelated matter.
Fosmo, upon answering the door, was “agitated and was not cooperative with police,” kicking at the officers leading him to a patrol car, said Lt. Ty Trouten.
“He tried to resist and commit battery,” Trouten said.
Trouten added that the arrest came after Fosmo was released from prison earlier in the year.
Fosmo was convicted in 2012 of grand theft of scrap metal and possession of a firearm by an ex-felon and he was sentenced to 11 years.
ELKO – An Elko man led police on a high-speed chase through a residential neighborhood early Thursday morning and was arrested later that afternoon.
John Tilley, 52, was seen driving erratically around 2 a.m. in a tree streets neighborhood, according to police.
An officer attempted to pull Tilley over but he led the officer on a high speed chase through the residential neighborhood. The chase reached speeds of up to 60 miles per hour before Tilley crashed into a storage shed.
The pursing officers assumed the chase had come to an end but Tilley threw the truck into reverse in an alleged attempt to ram the officer’s car.
Sgt. Jason Pepper said the officer was able to avoid injuries.
“He started exiting the vehicle when he noticed the reverse lights come on the truck,” he said. “He barely made it back into the car before the truck slammed into the patrol car.”
Tilley took off and the pursuit continued until the officer felt it was too dangerous to continue.
The officer was able to see Tilley’s face at some point in the pursuit, which helped the detective unit arrest Tilley at his home at 2:25 p.m.
Police have not yet been able to determine the cause of Tilley’s erratic driving.
Pepper said Tilley did not attempt to resist arrest when detectives were able to find him at his home that afternoon.
“Through some investigation afterwards we found out Tilley was the person in the truck,” he said. “We looked for the guy all morning in numerous places and sometime later in the afternoon he was located and arrested without incident.”
Tilley was charged with disobeying a public officer and endangering another person, assault with a deadly weapon and violation of parole or condition of suspended sentence.
ELKO – A Winnemucca man arrested in 2015 was bound over to district court nearly two years after his arrest for sexual assault on an underage teen.
Robert Everet Bero, 25, appeared before Senior Judge Barbara Nethery in Elko Justice Court June 1 for a status hearing with his attorney Benjamin Gaumond, where he waived his preliminary hearing on one count of sexual assault against a child under 14 with an alternate charge of lewdness with a child under 14.
Bero was arrested in Battle Mountain Aug. 12, 2015 and appeared in justice court Sept. 1, when the state made a plea offer to Bero in agreement with witnesses, according to court records.
An agreement was filed on Sept. 11, 2015 to release Bero on his own recognizance after a psychosexual evaluation was scheduled. The evaluation was presented in the court at the June 1 status hearing.
Nethery also ordered Bero continued to be released on his own recognizance and keep in weekly contact with his attorney.
A date for arraignment in district court is pending.
ELKO – The jury trial of an Elko man accused of firing a weapon at a police patrol car in 2015 was put on hold Friday in Elko District Court.
Justin Temoke, 34, represented by Deputy Public Defender Brian Green, received a continuation of his trial, which was set to begin next week with jury selection in Judge Al Kacin’s courtroom.
Temoke pleaded not guilty to attempted murder with the use of a deadly weapon and discharging a firearm at or into an occupied vehicle when he was arraigned July 11, 2016, before Kacin.
According to Free Press files, in the early morning hours of Aug. 30, 2015, police were called to an address on Silver Street between Eighth and Ninth streets on a domestic violence matter when a bullet struck the front door of a patrol vehicle on the driver’s side.
An investigation that included examination of video surveillance, tips from the public, and ballistics comparisons conducted by the Washoe County Crime Lab led to the arrest of Temoke on Dec. 17, 2015.
More than four months later, Temoke was bound over to district court by Senior Judge Barbara Nethery in Elko Justice Court.
ELKO – A Montana man has turned himself in two years after a violent car accident resulted in all seven occupants of the vehicle being injured.
Richard Harris, 23, was wanted on a warrant for five counts of reckless driving resulting in substantial bodily harm to five of the vehicle’s passengers on May 17, 2015.
According to Nevada Highway Patrol, the vehicle appeared to be traveling east on South Fork Road and crashed at the intersection of South Fork and Jiggs Highway.
Harris swerved while traveling through the intersection the vehicle hit an embankment, which caused it to go airborne. Two of the seven passengers in the 2007 Dodge Challenger were ejected.
Harris claimed he swerved in an attempt to avoid a deer but further investigation showed that the claim was false. NHP was not able to determine the cause of the accident.
Lt. Tamrah Jackson said the length of time it takes to investigate accidents like this often prevent an arrest from being made when officers show up at the scene.
“In a lot of our cases, especially when it involves significant injuries, we like to be able to have the time to do a full, thorough investigation to confirm what’s going on, then we’ll provide the completed investigation to the DA’s office” she said. “If there were other circumstances sometimes they are arrested on scene, but a lot of times we try to wait.”
ELKO – A Spring Creek man waived his preliminary hearing on charges of lewdness with a child under 14 years of age Wednesday in Elko Justice Court.
Kalvin A. Pedersen, 18, was bound over to Elko District Court on three counts of lewdness with a child under 14.
According to a criminal complaint filed March 21, Pedersen allegedly touched a 7-year-old victim “in a wrong way” in an empty classroom at the LDS church on Boyd-Kennedy Road in November.
A separate criminal complaint filed April 10 stated that a 12-year-old victim told police Pedersen allegedly touched her in a sexual manner on five separate occasions at a residence in Spring Creek, the last incident being in October.
Pedersen has not been arrested on the charges.
A arraignment date in Elko District Court has not been scheduled.
JACKPOT – A Wyoming man was arrested in Jackpot Friday on charges related to burglary and credit card theft dating back to 2013.
Jason A. Cane, 31, of Evansville, Wyoming, was arrested at the Jackpot substation on a warrant for four counts of burglary, four counts of obtaining another person’s identification for unlawful purpose, four counts of using a credit or debit card without cardholder’s consent, and two counts of failure to appear after admission to bail.
According to court documents, Cane allegedly stole a wallet from a car near Firstand Ash streets on or about Oct. 19 and 20, 2013.
The theft was discovered when the victim returned to her car and found the driver door window smashed and her wallet missing. She also reported charges appeared on her credit card from four locations on Mountain City Highway including Shell gas station, Maverik, McDonalds, and Wal-Mart the day the wallet was discovered missing.
Documents also revealed the suspect was seen by investigators in video surveillance entering the stores at approximately the time the charges were made on the victim’s credit card, which totaled $251.61.
Cane is being held at the Elko County Jail on $19,000 bail.
WEST WENDOVER – Nine pounds of marijuana was confiscated by West Wendover police during a traffic stop on Sunday afternoon.
Luis Castillo, 19, of Huntington Park, California was originally pulled over for failing to stop at a stop sign but was found to be other the influence of marijuana during an interview with police and did not have a driver’s licence, according to West Wendover Police Lt. Don Lininger. Castillo was also found to be in possession of a firearm that he did not have a permit to carry, Lininger said.
A suitcase containing the marijuana was found after police searched the vehicle.
The car’s two passengers, Juan Sanchez and Jetzali Olea, were also arrested at the scene for conspiracy to violate the controlled substance act.
Lininger said police believe everyone in the vehicle contributed in the attempt to transport the marijuana from Colorado to California.
“The rear passenger was Juan and it was actually Juan’s car but it was being driven by Mr. Castillo,” he said. “Jetzali had a license but she was tired of driving so she had Luis drive for her and that’s when they ran the stop sign. They’re all connected.”
Castillo’s bail was set at $34,110 while Olea and Sanchez both had their bail set at $10,000.
ELKO – A dispute between a landlord and a tenant took a dangerous turn when two Montello men brought firearms to the argument on Monday night.
Todd Corbin, 55, and William Kremer, 67, were both arrested for their roles in the dispute that started when Corbin showed up on Kremer’s property to help his wife move, according to the sheriff’s office.
Kremer allegedly had a shotgun in his hands when Corbin arrived on the property and demanded that everyone get off of his property, according to Undersheriff Ron Supp.
Feeling threatened, Corbin then grabbed a hunting rifle from his truck and fired a shot that narrowly missed Kremer’s head.
Corbin then warned Kremer that he would shoot Kremer if he did not leave, Supp said. Kremer then left the area.
Supp said Kremer was arrested for his role in escalating the conflict.
“If the one guy wouldn’t have brought a gun the one guy may not have brought out a gun. One thing led to another,” he said.
Supp also noted that the sheriff’s office handles a lot of disputes like this that do not escalate to this point.
“We actually handle a lot of landlord-tenant type of things but we don’t normally have this kind of problem,” he said. “I can’t even think of the last time we had something like this.”
Both parties involved were charged with assault with a deadly weapon while Corbin was also charged for discharging his gun.
Corbin’s bail was set at $40,000 and Kremer’s was set at $20,000.
ELKO – Marijuana laws have seen drastic changes since the beginning of the year but not a lot has changed for law enforcement.
More than seven months into having recreational marijuana being legalized, Elko and West Wendover police are not seeing any significant increase in marijuana-related arrests.
West Wendover Police Department often issues citations for marijuana possession, depending on the amount found and the totality of the situation.
West Wendover Police Lt. Don Lininger said his officers are not often dealing with marijuana-related incidents.
“Now that it’s legal, I haven’t seen a huge influx in it,” he said. “We haven’t been called into the casinos on any complaints regarding public use of the marijuana. The security guards usually handle that on their own. They’ll tell them that they can’t smoke that here, and they’ve been compliant, so we haven’t been called in.”
Lininger also added that while marijuana arrests have remained stable, his department has been issuing fewer citations for marijuana possession this year.
West Wendover police recently made an arrest when the three occupants of a vehicle were found to have nine pounds of marijuana in the car, but people who have committed crimes with smaller amounts of marijuana in their possession may not be charged for it.
“We have people that have been arrested on other charges such as domestic, DUI or trespass that have had marijuana on their person and we have been confiscating that but not charging them with it. We’re just using a lot more discretion with that.”
In Elko the arrest numbers have remained stable as well. According the police department there has not been any significant change in the number of marijuana possession arrests but Lt. Ty Trouten said the City does not typically make a lot of arrest on those types of offenses.
“I don’t think marijuana arrests have typically been a high number for us in recent years,” he said. “There aren’t any significant drops or increases of anything right now.”
Though not drastically different than their tests for other intoxicants, police also have to deal with impaired drivers under the influence of marijuana.
Testing for marijuana now requires a blood test instead of a urine test but Trouten said the typical sobriety tests should help an officer decide if a driver is impaired by marijuana.
“There are field sobriety tests that are standardized to show if a person is under the influence of something,” he said. “If they are under the influence and they perform poorly on those tests, it’s just like with alcohol ... if you get somebody who can’t pass those test then you go for the blood draw.”
Elko and West Wendover have both had discussions in city council meetings as they try to project the impact a dispensary could have in either city.
Consumption of marijuana has not caused too many complications for local law enforcement but dispensaries can only accept payments in cash, which could make these new businesses targets for robberies.
Trouten said keeping these places safe could be a challenge.
“You’re a cash-only business, which means you’re a ripe target for someone who’s looking to roll you,” he said. “One of our guys was in Reno the other day and he said the line was down the block and up the street for their dispensary. It’s going to be a big business, at least initially.”
ELKO – A man extradited from Colorado in May on allegations of child sexual assault pleaded not guilty Monday in district court.
Jason D. Hintze, 38, was arrested at his home in Montrose, Colorado after a warrant was issued on four counts of sexual assault of against a child under the age of 14, two counts of lewdness with a child under 14, and incest.
According to court documents, the assaults occurred in Elko between December 1, 2005 and March 31, 2013 when the victim was between the ages of 6 and 12 years old and before the family moved to Colorado in 2013.
Hintze was brought back to Elko in April and he waived his preliminary hearing in Elko Justice Court in June.
Hintze remained in custody as he entered his plea to Judge Al Kacin.
ELKO – A local man was allegedly caught in possession of a stolen vehicle when Highway Patrol officers saw him drive through a stop sign.
Joshua Rose, 18, was arrested late Sunday night on Lamoille Highway. The dark-colored SUV was pulled over by an NHP officer who found that that registration information matched a vehicle that had been reported stolen.
NHP officer Alberto Perez said it is unclear if Rose is also responsible for stealing the vehicle.
“We do not have anything on that,” he said. “According to the report it looks like that’s still under investigation,” he said.
ELKO – A Florida woman allegedly attempted to rob Dos Amigos after breaking a glass bottle to threaten employees and customers.
Fancilee Yount, 28, of Orlando was arrested at the restaurant by police on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and attempted armed robbery.
Police Chief Ben Reed said its unclear why Yount entered the restaurant but she was detained by two customers until police arrived at the scene.
"She was acting bizarre and yelling," he said. "Customers called 911, we were en route and a number of customers fled out the exit. At some point Yount tried to leave and a couple of male customers tackled her, got the broken beer bottle away from her and held her on the ground as officers were pulling up."
Reed also mentioned that Yount appeared to be under the influence of drugs.
Yount was not cooperative when police attempted to take her into custody and was also charged with resisting an officer.
Yount was also arrested earlier this month for second offense domestic battery, according to Free Press files.
Reed said he was thankful that citizens helped deescalate an unsafe situation.
"It was a dangerous situation but it ended as best as it could," he said. "We have the names of our two helpers and we're really appreciative of the effort they made to detain Yount."
ELKO – A man who was allegedly attempting to steal items from Elko Sanitation trucks early Tuesday morning was taken into custody after a witness called police.
Kenneth Brown, 38, of Elko was arrested on eight counts of burglary.
Police Chief Ben Reed said Brown had only taken items from eight vehicles but had searched through every dump truck.
“About 20 of their sanitations trucks had been broken into, rummaged through, vandalized and so forth,” he said. “On eight of them we were able to show that something was actually stolen from the truck but all of them had been gone through.”
Brown did not appear to be looking for anything in particular but did attempt to take some radio equipment out of the trucks.
Police are looking into whether Brown has any connection to other recent burglary attempts. Reed said Brown had just been arrested Saturday for failure to appear after bail.
“We’re looking at him for multiple other cases in the past couple of weeks,” he said. “We arrested him on a warrant a couple of days ago … he was out of custody for maybe 11 or 12 hours before he was caught on these burglaries.”
ELKO – The second of two men charged with burglarizing a tree-street residence in February 2016 was given a suspended sentence and probation in Elko District Court.
Jarrett Tyler Beckner, 20, was placed on probation for three years; ordered to attend adult drug court; pay $681.74 restitution to the victims; abstain from alcohol, gambling and marijuana use; and have no contact with his co-defendant, Billy J. Hyatt.
“I am going to give you the opportunity for civil commitment,” said Judge Nancy Porter. “I’m finding that you are an addict likely to be rehabilitated and you’ve been recommended for treatment.”
Beckner’s attorney, David Loreman, asked for civil commitment for his client, which would not include incarceration.
District Attorney Tyler Ingram asked that Beckner receive jail time, and spoke on behalf of the victims of the burglary, who attended the sentencing but declined to speak in court.
Ingram told the court the victims were “scared to live in their house” since the incident.
Ingram also said the victims believed “jail time was appropriate…so Mr. Beckner can know what he did to these two folks is not right.”
Beckner offered his apologies to the victims in court.
“I would like to say I’m sorry, I apologize. What I did was wrong, it’s not ok. I have problems with drugs and I’m fixing it,” he said.
“I would also like to say I would very much appreciate the chance to go to drug court,” Beckner added.
Beckner pleaded guilty in January to one count of grand larceny of a firearm and one count of possession of a controlled substance. Four burglary counts related to the incident were dropped by the state as part of a plea agreement.
Before sentencing, Porter told the court she “thought a lot about the case,” telling Beckner that his actions destroyed “their peace of mind and security in their home.”
Porter also said she took into consideration his age, noting that “once a person becomes a felon, it’s difficult for that person from that point forward to get a good job and be a productive member of society.”
“So where possible, I try to give young criminal defendants an opportunity not to be saddled with that felony,” Porter said, addingthat his addiction issues did not excuses his actions.
Beckner and Hyatt were arrested the morning of Feb. 24, 2016 after an officer noticed the pair in the alley between Oak and Cedar streets. They were wearing face masks and carrying rifles and backpacks, according to Free Press files.
Beckner ran from officers and was arrested on Seventh and Juniper streets, throwing items into the front yard of another residence. Hyatt was arrested at Eighth and Juniper streets.
Authorities located a 12-guage shotgun and later found methamphetamine in Beckner’s backpack, along with letters and papers addressed to a residence on Sixth Street.
Beckner was also found to be wearing latex gloves and carrying a flashlight and multi-tool set.
Last year, Hyatt pleaded guilty to burglary and grand larceny charges and was given a suspended sentence of 80 months in prison and was placed on probation for five years and ordered to complete drug court have no contact with Beckner.
ELKO – The Elko County Sheriff’s Department has seen a slight drop in the number of marijuana arrests but is still dealing with a similar number involving marijuana users under the age of 21.
Sheriff’s deputies were not making many marijuana possession arrests to begin with, as the department only made 21 in the sixth months before legalized recreational use.
All of the marijuana arrest and citations during that time were for possession of less than an ounce.
Undersheriff Ron Supp said the few people who had court dates for marijuana possession after recreational use was legalized still faced penalties for their possession.
“For a little while we were seeing people get arrested for less than an ounce,” he said. “What those were was probably someone who was issued a citation for having less than an ounce and the court appearance date came after the law passed, so the old law still applied.”
Most of the arrests for marijuana the department has made since recreational use was legalized have involved possession charges for people under the age of 21.
Supp said he has not seen any particular increase in these types of arrests since marijuana became legal and more wildly available, and he expects that current arrest trend to continue.
“Since the law passed there have been a couple of arrests for possession that was less than an ounce but they were under 21,” he said. “We’ll have to wait and see for another six months and do the comparison and see how that works out but most of the marijuana arrests we make are for less than an ounce.”
Public consumption has not been a major issue for the department, Supp said, but sheriff’s deputies could have a hard time keeping a dispensary safe if it were located in an outlying area.
There are no plans for a dispensary in the County’s jurisdiction yet but Supp said providing security for a dispensary in an area where deputies are not regularly on patrol could be difficult.
“If that were to happen that would be very difficult for us to tell that person who owns that store that we can provide adequate safety and security,” he said. “It’s just so far out there, we don’t have anyone that’s out there on a regular basis. If they put something way out there that would be difficult.”
Supp said until there is a place to purchase marijuana legally in the county, deputies should not experience any extra challenges in enforcing cannabis laws.
“I haven’t seen any change in anything since the law passed, but we also haven’t seen any dispensaries and that kind of stuff” he said. “When that changes, then we’ll see what happens.”
SPRING CREEK – An encounter between a man and his neighbor’s dog ended with a dog being shot and killed Sunday night.
Ryley Schackman, 21, was arrested for allegedly shooting his neighbor’s dog.
The dispute was reported by neighbors who stated to a sheriff’s deputy that they heard a commotion outside, including dogs barking.
Schackman stated that the neighbor’s dog had breached the fence before he fired three shots.
After further investigation, however, the deputy determined that Schackman was outside when his dog and the neighbor’s dog began to fight through the fence.
A witness reported that Schackman kicked the fence before shooting the neighbor’s dog while it was still on his neighbor’s property, according to a press release from the Elko County Sherriff’s department.
Schackman later admitted to lying in parts of his originally statement and was arrested. While being escorted away, he made a statement to a witness that the deputy perceived as a threat.
As a result, the suspect was charged with threatening or intimidating a witness, along with discharging a firearm in the dark, killing another’s animal, and obstructing or hindering an investigation.
Lt. Kevin McKinney said officers can piece together physical evidence at the scene of a crime and that it can be difficult for suspects to maintain a lie in their stories.
“You have to remember a lie, but you don’t really have to remember the truth,” he said. “Usually when you’re questioning people and talking to them about stuff, you can come up with inconsistencies when they’re being untruthful since it’s difficult to maintain a lie for any length of time.”
ELKO – A Battle Mountain man who was pulled over in a traffic stop along Interstate 80 in Carlin ended up being jailed on multiple charges, including possession of a sawed-off shotgun.
Bryson R. John, 24, allegedly failed to stop at a stop sign or use his turn signal, according to Carlin Police Chief Dennis Fobes. When a police officer pulled him over he showed signs of being under the influence of a central nervous system stimulant, Fobes said.
John reportedly failed a field sobriety test and the officer determined his license had been revoked. While searching the vehicle, Fobes said police found a black bag containing a mask, burglary tools and a shotgun. The shotgun had been reported stolen in Elko County and the barrel was sawed shorter than the 18-inch allowed length.
John was booked on charges of possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools, possession of a short-barreled shotgun, DUI, driving with a suspended license, failure to use turn signal, and failure to stop at a stop sign. Bail was set at $29,225.
Fobes said John will face an additional charge because he is an ex-felon not allowed to have firearms.
ELKO – After a woman reported her car and her jewelry missing, police arrested her son and his girlfriend as they allegedly attempted to sell the jewelry.
Timothy Longhurst, 25, and Kaylee Sharlow, 21, were arrested Thursday.
Elko police said Longhust was attempting to sell the jewelry at Jensen’s Jewelers. He had sold some of the stolen jewelry earlier in the day and returned to Jensen’s again to sell more, according to Lt. Mike Palhegyi.
During their investigation at Jensen’s officers noticed the vehicle that had been reported missing parked in the parking lot. They arrested Longhurst and Sharlow, who appeared to be working with Longhurst to sell the jewelry.
When officers searched the vehicle they reportedly found a substance that appeared to be methamphetamine in a bag that was in Sharlow’s possession.
Lt. Mike Palhegyi said it is possible that Longhurst and Sharlow were going to use the money from selling the stolen jewelry to purchase drugs.
“Users of illicit substances have to support that habit somehow and a lot of times it’s stealing from people and sometimes it’s even stealing from people that they love,” he said.
Longhurst faces five counts of burglary; buying, possessing or receiving stolen property; attempt to obtain by false pretense; possessing, receiving or transferring stolen property; grand larceny; and conspiracy to commit grand larceny of an automobile.
His bail was set at $190,000.
Sharlow was charged with conspiracy to possess, receive or transfer a stolen vehicle; conspiracy to commit criminal contempt; possession of a controlled substance; three counts of use or possession of drug paraphernalia; possession of hypodermic device; and possession of dangerous drug without a prescription.
ELKO – A man has been arrested for allegedly engaging in sexual acts with a female relative under the age of 14.
Sean Sandhoff, 41, was arrested Aug. 3 on charges of luring a child with computers, luring a child with harmful materials with a computer, luring a child to engage in sex, luring a child with harmful materials, lewdness with a child under the age of 14, and contact with a minor.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Elko Justice Court, Sandhoff contacted the victim after seeing a Facebook status where she expressed feeling self-conscious about her looks.
After seeing the post, Sandhoff texted the victim to compliment her appearance. The text conversations between Sanhoff and the victim became more sexually explicit as time went on.
The victim stated to police that the conversations with Sandhoff made her uncomfortable, and the investigation revealed that Sandhoff had touched the victim inappropriately on multiple occasions, according to the complaint.
WEST WENDOVER — Six members of the West Wendover Police Department were honored Wednesday for their efforts resulting in the apprehension of a bank robbery suspect wanted from the Salt Lake City area for several felonies.
Unified Police Department personnel visited the West Wendover Police Department to present Division Commander Awards to the six personnel.
Thomas Allen Riessen, 35, was identified on July 7 as the suspect in several robberies around the Salt Lake Valley, and a warrant was issued for his arrest in connection with a bank robbery on June 23.
On July 12, Detective Brent Adamson and Detective Jeremy Wilson developed information that Riessen was in West Wendover. They responded to the area and contacted local law enforcement. Upon arrival, the detective met with Sgt.Hillaker, Sgt.Petro, Officer Turner, Officer Ramirez, Officer Love and Officer Pantelakis.
According to West Wendover police, once Riessen’s location was determined the law enforcement team created a plan to safely and effectively take him into custody without exposing the public to any potential threats.
With Riessen in custody Unified Police were able to clear six bank robberies and two Metro PCS cellphone store robberies, the department noted.
ELKO – Three inmates of the Elko County Jail were arrested Friday night on attempted murder charges after allegedly forcing a cellmate to ingest an anti-psychotic drug.
Sheriff Jim Pitts said inmates sometimes “cheek” medication that they are given by a nurse, then gag them up and save them in their cells. On Friday, one or more inmates had stored up four pills of Seroquel, which is used to treat schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Three inmates in the four-man cell then allegedly forced a smaller inmate to “snort” the drug, Pitts said. The inmate had difficulty breathing and was taken to the hospital, where he was treated and released.
Joshua A. Haas, 25; Jorge A. Galaviz-Fuentes, 28; and Jeromy M. Ruckdaschel, 23, all of Elko, were arrested for attempted murder, battery by a prisoner, furnishing or attempting to furnish a controlled substance to a prisoner, administering drug to aid in the commission of a felony, and administering a controlled substance to aid in the commission of a crime of violence.
Bail was set at $120,000 each.
All three men have had been arrested on drug charges on prior occasions, according to Elko Daily Free Press records.
ELKO — West Wendover police arrested a man after he allegedly fled the scene of a traffic stop, hid out in a residence and threatened to shoot officers.
On Monday morning officers observed two vehicles traveling east on Wendover Boulevard in a reckless manner. One vehicle was repeatedly breaking in front of another while changing lanes to prevent the vehicle from passing.
A traffic stop was conducted on both vehicles. One vehicle driven by Israel Cornejo fled the scene as the officer made contact. The officer had reached into the vehicle and was holding onto the seatbelt as Cornejo drove away. The officer let go prior to being dragged by the vehicle and was not injured as a result.
The vehicle was found in front of a residence in a mobile home park. Officers attempted to contact the occupants of the residence without success. While at the residence Cornejo called into the dispatch center to demand that officers leave the residence. Cornejo reportedly made threats through the dispatcher stating that if the officers did not leave he would shoot them and himself.
Officers spoke with Cornejo and negotiated with him to safely turn himself in. He exited the residence and was taken into custody without further incident. The incident is now being reviewed by the Elko District Attorney.
JACKPOT – A license plate check resulted in high-speed chase involving Elko County and Twin Falls authorities.
Deputies found a truck parked near the Idaho border on U.S. Highway 93 last week, according to Elko County Sheriff Jim Pitts. A check revealed the vehicle was stolen, prompting a search for the driver.
The driver, Bret Harold Charlton, 55, of Pocatello, returned to the truck and drove south on Highway 93 pursued by Elko County Sheriff’s deputies.
Charlton turned around in Jackpot and headed north, continuing to the Idaho border where the chase was picked up by Twin Falls County Sheriff’s deputies.
Charlton drove into a field after his tires were spiked, and he was arrested on Idaho felony warrants.
Further investigation revealed Charlton was using stolen plates on a truck that he owned, said Pitts.
Charlton was charged by Idaho authorities with eluding, possession of a controlled substance, possession of stolen property, and possession of paraphernalia. He was arraigned Aug. 10. His bail is $250,000.
ELKO – A Spring Creek man was arrested for allegedly injuring a dog and bestiality involving a dog Saturday morning.
Thomas Copland, 32, was charged with the crimes when a sheriff’s deputy noted significant injuries to a dog that was last known to be in Copland’s possession before the injuries occurred, according to the Elko County Sheriff’s Office.
The dog had two safety pins stuck in it, and it appeared to have suffered injuries from burns.
The deputy believed other injuries the dog sustained were consistent with bestiality and went to Copland’s residence to make the arrest.
A woman who stays at the residence with Copland gave deputies permission to search the home. They soon found Copland hiding in the closet and said he knew that authorities were looking for him. He was taken into custody.
ELKO – An Elko man who allegedly knocked over a display in a supermarket and attempted to light the contents of a nearby mailbox on fire was arrested on an arson charge Thursday morning.
Shane Johnson, 52, was attempting to buy items from Albertsons and became distraught when he was not able to afford everything he intended to buy, according to police.
Johnson then began behaving erratically, knocking over a display and taking things off the wall inside of the store.
Lt. Mike Palhegyi said police were originally called to the scene to address the disturbance Johnson was causing.
“When they got there, they found out that in addition to causing problems in the store the individual had deposited a cigarette into a mailbox and caused there to be a small fire inside the mailbox,” he said. “We got post office personnel to open it up and it had already extinguished itself but lighting mail on fire is still arson.”
Fire Marshal John Holmes said the fire’s proximity to businesses and the fact that mail was damaged could land Johnson in more trouble.
“He is being charged with arson of an occupied structure because of it being next to businesses,” he said. “There will probably be more federal charges and stuff. I’m not sure how the court system will handle that but there will probably be some federal charges as well.”
Police said Johnson admitted to starting the fire when officers arrived and was arrested for third degree arson and disturbing the peace.
ELKO — A local man was arrested after allegedly trying to enter an unlocked car and an unlocked residence in the same night on Sunday.
David Nelson, 51, was first reported by witnesses at the scene to be entering a parked vehicle, according to police.
Officer were not able to determine if anything was missing from the vehicle but one of the officer responding to the scene later got word that Nelson had entered an apartment building after walking through an unlocked door near 101 Spruce Road, where he was arrested.
The apartment was inhabited by a female who pushed Nelson out of the apartment once she awoke to the sound of her door opening around 8 p.m..
Lt. Mike Palhegyi said the woman was shocked to see an unknown person in her apartment.
“She thought it was her boyfriend coming over and then there’s a strange guy in her apartment,” he said. “I believe she had a child with her but he just let himself into the apartment through an unlocked door.”
Nelson did not steal anything from the apartment and officers are attempting to reach out to the vehicle owner to confirm if anything was taken.
Palhegyi said it is common for thieves to take advantage of unlocked doors instead of attempting a break in.
“Both of these situations could have been avoided if these people had secured their vehicle and secured their door,” he said. “Typically these people will go through an apartment complex or shopping mall and just try doors on vehicles. When they find an unlocked one, that’s when they go in and start stealing stuff. It doesn’t mean that people don’t break into cars but usually it’s the path of least resistance.”
Nelson was charged with two counts of burglary and his bail was set at $40,000.
SPRING CREEK — A local man was arrested for driving under the influence and child neglect after he was involved in a hit-and-run accident that knocked a tree onto a trailer Saturday night on Blakeland Drive.
A Nevada Highway Patrol trooper helping with the hit-and-run report noticed a truck drive by with a headlight out and heavy front-end damage.
When pulled over, Raymond Harden admitted to hitting the tree. The trooper smelled alcohol coming from the vehicle and performed a sobriety test.
Further investigation revealed that he hit a tree and a propane tank with a female passenger and two children in the vehicle, although Harden was alone when stopped.
“What we found out is that this kid and this other lady was in his car,” said Trooper Jim Stewart. “They were inside the vehicle, and for whatever reason, they got out of the vehicle; I don’t know why.”
Harden was charged with two counts of child neglect, second offense DUI and failure to report damage to property. His bail was set at $8,035.
That was the lesson a Carlin woman learned after being arrested early Thursday morning for driving a rental car that she had not returned.
Darlene Viera, 34, had rented a car from Bakersfield, California, and did not renew the rental. The car was reported stolen by the leasing agency after being missing for about two weeks.
An officer in the area was aware Viera had the rental car and ran the plates to see if she was still in legal possession of the vehicle. Viera said that the car was a rental she had not returned and was arrested for possessing a stolen vehicle.
Carlin Police Chief Dennis Fobes said he is not sure how long Viera planned on keeping the car.
“They let them have it for quite awhile before they reported it stolen,” he said. “I don’t know if they ever intended on returning it or just keeping it until someone came after them.”
ELKO – An Elko man accepted a plea agreement that reduced a charge of sexual assault on a woman in 2015.
Daniel C. Goerdt, 28, pleaded no contest Thursday before District Judge Nancy Porter to one count of attempted sexual assault, a category B felony. It is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison.
If Goerdt completes a psychosexual evaluation and is found not to be at a high risk to re-offend, he could be eligible for parole in 2 to 5 years.
At his arraignment in July, Goerdt pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault, a category A felony, and, if convicted, faced life in prison with the possibility of parole after serving 10 years.
Goerdt was arrested on a warrant in March. In a preliminary hearing in Elko Justice Court conducted in two months later, the victim testified she met Goerdt weeks before the incident and they began a relationship. They texted each other and she invited him to her home April 1, 2015, the night of the assault.
Goerdt is registered as a “Tier 2” sex offender resulting from a conviction in Idaho where he served time at the Idaho State Prison, according to the Nevada Sex Offender Public Website.
ELKO – Police officers recovered 46 grams of methamphetamine and a stolen gun after stopping a vehicle for the second time in two days.
Jay Jim was pulled over on Sept. 1 when officers first noticed that Jay’s license plate was suspended. Jay indicated he was in the process of purchasing the vehicle, according to police.
Officers did not arrest him that day but noticed him driving the same vehicle the next day and performed another traffic stop.
The officers chose to arrest Jim when he presented them with an invalid driver’s license and had prior violations.
After Jim was put in handcuffs officers also noticed a gun under the seat of the vehicle and plastic bags that officers suspected contained methamphetamine.
Lt. Mike Palhegyi said Jim should not have had a gun in his possession under any circumstances.
“Jim has felony convictions so he wouldn’t be able to have that firearm anyway even if it wasn’t stolen,” he said.
It is unclear if Jim was under the influence at the time of his arrest but Palhegyi said Jim was likely planning to sell the drug instead of using it.
“I’m guessing with that kind of weight he would be more likely to use for sales than personal use because that’s a lot of methamphetamine,” he said.
Jim was charged with possession to sell a controlled substance; possession of a controlled substance; possession to sell a schedule I or II substance; owning or possessing a gun by prohibited person; conspiracy to buy, possess or receive stolen property; operating an unregistered vehicle; and driving with a suspended license.
ELKO – Statements read by family members and the defendant moved a courtroom to tears Thursday before the sentencing of a man convicted in the hit-and-run death of the president of the Elko Federal Credit Union last year.
Daniel Vasu, 28, was sentenced to 8 to 20 years and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine on one count of failure to stop at the scene of an accident involving personal injury or death, a category B felony, in Elko District Court.
Vasu pleaded guilty to the charge in May, almost a year after he was suspected of hitting Elko Federal Credit Union President Doug Schwartz with his Jeep on the evening of June 22, 2016, on Commercial Street in front of Machi’s Grill and Saloon.
A photo of Vasu’s vehicle was posted on social media sites and news outlets in an effort to locate the driver. Vasu was arrested the next morning.
Schwartz died of his injuries at Northern Nevada Regional Hospital several hours later.
In handing down the sentence, Judge Nancy Porter told the court she received letters from people on Vasu’s behalf saying that he “made a mistake.”
“But leaving the scene was more than a mistake, it was bad judgment,” Porter continued.
District Attorney Chad Thompson called lead investigator Dennis Price to “exemplify … the motive in leaving the scene after hitting Mr. Schwartz.”
Price explained investigators learned through surveillance video, phone records, interviews and collaboration from Vasu, that Vasu consumed alcohol at the Blind Onion, the Tiki Hut, Goldie’s Bar, the Stray Dog Pub & Café, and returned to the Tiki Hut.
“He knew he was drunk, it says so on his own text messages,” Thompson said, “and still got behind the wheel.”
In asking for the maximum of 8 to 20 years, “we’re not asking for the death sentence or even his entire life,” Thompson said. “We’re asking a statement be sent to the community,” Thompson continued.
“We can’t prosecute alcohol, but we have to send a message … that you don’t get behind the wheel after doing this,” Thompson said.
Defense attorney Sherburne Macfarlan said Vasu’s sentence “has to consider a number of factors. The impact of this offense on Mr. Schwartz’s family and friends and will continue to have on [them]. But you also have to consider the impact it will have on the defendant’s family and friends.”
Macfarlan asked for a “fair sentence” of 24 to 72 months, explaining that Vasu did not have any prior criminal history and “in all likelihood, he is probably going to do more than the 24 months.”
Macfarlan referred to letters from Vasu’s mother, family and friends describing Vasu’s character.
“Those people are obviously not condoning what Mr. Vasu did and the harm that he has caused, but they are pointing out that Mr. Vasu does in fact have some very fine characteristics,” Macfarlan said.
“I am in no way trying to diminish the impact of Mr. Vasu’s conduct on the Schwart’s family … and friends,” Macfarlan continued. “Nothing can be done to repair the damage.”
Offered by Porter to speak, Vasu read a letter to the court and members of Schwartz’s family.
“I express my sincere remorse for my irresponsibility and dangerous actions. There is no excuse for it. I wish I could take it all back, all of it,” Vasu said.
“But I want to own up and deal with my consequences. I’m sorry I didn’t that day,” Vasu said. “I want to show people they need to know what’s right. They need to do what’s right in any case, in any circumstance.”
Victim impact statements read by Schwartz’s wife Diane and son DJ offered forgiveness to the defendant and described Schwartz’s contributions to his family and the community.
Diane Schwartz said while her husband was in the hospital, he wouldn’t allow others to assume a drunk driver hit him.
“He forgave you as he lay in the hospital,” she said tearfully. “Doug still continued to say ‘that we shouldn’t be accusing because we simply didn’t know.’”
“I thought it was important for you to know that he gave you the benefit of the doubt,” Diane Schwartz said. “I also want you to know I forgive you.”
ELKO – Two more high school students are named in a criminal complaint against a former Wells elementary teacher that was filed in justice court last week.
Tennille Whitaker was arrested in June on charges of sexual conduct with two Wells High School students between the ages of 16 and 18 years old.
Court documents filed Aug. 29 by the Elko County District Attorney’s office show Whitaker faces 12 counts of sexual conduct between a school employee or volunteer and pupil, a category C felony, among four male high school students.
One student is listed in seven counts, two more students are listed in two counts, and one student is listed in one count.
The three teens were 16 and older at the time of the incidents and the encounters occurred on school property and other locations, according to the criminal complaint.
Whitaker resigned from the Elko County School District last month. She was employed by the district for 11 years and taught at Wells Elementary School.
A preliminary hearing on Sept. 11 was postponed after a waiver was filed in Elko Justice Court. A new hearing was set for Nov. 3.
Whitaker was released from custody on bail the day after her arrest.
ELKO – A local man was arrested on a charge of attempted murder after allegedly attacking another man with a knife in a casino parking lot.
Carl A. Bond Jr., 41, approached the victim Saturday evening when he was leaving the Red Lion Hotel & Casino. The victim asked Bond how he was doing as a greeting. Bond responded by saying, “I’m going to kill somebody,” according to police.
The victim continued walking to his vehicle, but Bond reportedly attacked him from behind with a knife.
The victim wrestled the knife away from Bond, sustaining minor injuries to his hand in the process. Red Lion security helped detain Bond until police arrived at the scene. The victim was treated for his injuries at the scene.
Police said they are not sure what contributed to Bond’s violent behavior.
Bond was arrested on charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. His bail was set at $120,000.
WELLS – Two suspects led the sheriff’s office on a chase after law officers say they refused to pay for gas at Roadway Diesel in Wells on Thursday. They were arrested a day later.
Daniel Jacobson, 20, and Nicole Price, 22, ran out of gas near Wells and Roadway Diesel delivered fuel to them.
The suspects attempted to elude Roadway Diesel personnel without paying for the gas, according to Elko County Undersheriff Ron Supp. Deputies later found the vehicle in Wells. The deputies temporarily stopped the vehicle, but Supp said Price and Jacobson switched seats while the deputy approached the car, and the suspects sped off again.
During the chase, the suspects twice attempted to hit an occupied patrol car, Supp said.
Because of the speed and location of the chase, deputies chose to end the pursuit.
“They were going like 70 miles per hour in a residential area in Wells,” Supp said.
The suspects abandoned the vehicle, which was later found by deputies. When the vehicle was impounded the sheriff’s office discovered the car was stolen.
The two suspects were found again on foot and identified by a Roadway Diesel employee who alerted the sheriff’s office. The deputy confirmed the identity of the suspects, and they were taken into custody.
Jacobson was charged with possessing or receiving stolen property, two counts of battery on a protected person, disobeying an officer, two counts of attempted battery on an officer, theft and driving with a suspended license. His bail was $136,495.
Price was arrested for the same crimes but was charged with only one count of battery on a protected person. Her bail was $86,495.
ELKO – An Elko woman is suspected of embezzling more than $9,000 from Rehab Services of Nevada.
Crystella A. Martinez, 35, was arrested Friday on two counts of embezzlement, one count of uttering a forged instrument, conspiracy to commit uttering of a forged instrument, and conspiracy to commit embezzlement.
The business was doing an audit when discrepancies were discovered, said Elko Police Capt. Ty Trouten.
Martinez was entrusted with accepting payments, making deposits and paying bills for the business.
“Several cash payments were missing from patient accounts,” Trouten said.
Rehab Services offers physical therapy, occupational therapy and similar services, according to its website.
An audit by physical therapist Greg Barker and an office manager at the start of tax season revealed 18 cash payments missing from three patient accounts.
A police investigation revealed Martinez allegedly took $1,848 in cash, forged 17 checks totaling more than $5,800, and paid more than $1,000 in phone bills using checks signed by Barker, according to court documents.
The thefts are suspected to have taken place between May 2016 and January 2017, court documents state.
The case was forwarded to the District Attorney’s office in July.
ELKO – A plea agreement was reached for the former treasurer of the Motorcycle Jamboree, who pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $34,000 from the organization.
Deborah L. Urrizaga, 52, pleaded guilty to one count of theft by conversion, a category B felony, before Elko District Court Judge Al Kacin in exchange for dropping 20 related counts. Under the plea deal the state cannot file further charges. Probation is available.
Urrizaga faces a maximum sentence of two to 10 years in prison or a minimum of 12 to 30 months and a $10,000 fine when she is sentenced in December.
Michael Shurtz, Urrizaga’s attorney, told Kacin she made a final restitution payment Sept. 8.
“You helped yourself by paying restitution,” Kacin said to Urrizaga.
Urrizaga was arrested in February after a police investigation revealed she was suspected of writing checks to herself on the Motorcycle Jamboree’s account between 2015 and 2016.
During an investigation that started last year, Urrizaga told police that as treasurer she paid for Jamboree expenses out of her own pocket and reimbursed herself afterward. She further claimed she could not reach board members to explain the situation and believed it would not be an issue.
ELKO – The family of a July 2014 homicide victim is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to his killer’s or conspirator’s arrest and conviction.
Richard Lawson Jr. was 31 when he was bludgeoned to death in his Wilson Avenue home early on the morning of July 30.
Elko Police Department issued the reward bulletin Wednesday afternoon, including a photo and a plea from the family:
“Please help us find the person(s) responsible for RJ’s death which occurred on July 30th 2014 at his home in Elko, Nevada. He was a hardworking man holding down two jobs (Taco Bell and High Desert Inn) and at the time of his death, had just started working at Timberline Drilling. His family can’t sleep and still lives in fear they could be next.”
Police were called by a roommate to the home around 3:30 a.m. and found Lawson’s body in his bedroom, which had an outside entrance.
No weapon was recovered at the scene, and “It didn’t appear there was much of a struggle,” then-Lt. Rich Genseal said at the time.
Police Chief Ben Reed told media the crime was not believed to be a random act of violence. He said the area where the killing occurred is well-known in the neighborhood for having “drug-related individuals coming and going.”
Lawson was the father of a 6-year-old daughter. About two weeks before the murder, he was the victim of a burglary, according to police. Two laptop computers, a camera and a backpack were stolen.
A candlelight vigil was held in which Lawson was remembered as an avid Washington Redskins fan.
Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact Detective Pete Nielson at the Elko Police Department. Call 777-7324 or email email@example.com.
“You can remain anonymous,” stated the announcement.
ELKO – An Elko man arrested for an alleged knife attack in the Red Lion parking lot earlier this month was bound over to district court.
Carl A. Bond Jr., 41, was charged with one count of attempted murder with the use of a deadly weapon, one count of attempted murder, and one count of assault with a deadly weapon. All three are category B felonies.
Elko Justice Court Judge Mason Simons bound over Bond to Elko District Court Friday.
If convicted, Bond could receive 2 to 20 years in prison on the attempted murder charge with an additional 1 to 20 years for using a deadly weapon. If found guilty on the second count, Bond could receive 2 to 20 years. For the third charge, Bond could receive 1 to 6 years in prison or be fined $5,000.
Bond is accused of attacking Ricardo Huerta with a knife on Sept. 9 as Huerta and his wife were walking through the parking lot to go to dinner at the Red Lion Inn and Casino.
According to court documents, Huerta noticed Bond walking toward the couple and Huerta asked him, “How are you doing tonight?” to which Bond replied, “I’m going to kill somebody.”
Huerta told Bond, “Ah, you don’t wanna do that.” Huerta said Bond then attacked him from behind and both men fell to the ground. Huerta’s wife shouted that Bond had a knife and, in the struggle, Huerta was able to disarm Bond before security guards arrived. They restrained Bond until the police arrived.
Huerta suffered cuts and scratches and his shirt was ripped, according to police.
ELKO — Dana R. Monroe, 50, of Spring Creek was arrested Monday at the Elko County Jail on a warrant charging her with embezzling more than $26,000 from Elko trucking and concrete companies.
Monroe was charged in an August complaint with embezzling money from Vega Construction and Trucking and from Humboldt Vega LLC. She is accused of accepting more than three dozen cash payments on behalf of the company and keeping the money for her own purposes.
Six counts of embezzlement exceed $3,500 while a seventh count is for between $650 and $3,500. Most of the alleged thefts are from April 2015 through July 2016.
ELKO – The family of a July 2014 homicide victim has increased the amount of reward being offered for information leading to his killer’s or conspirator’s arrest and conviction.
The amount has been raised from $10,000 to $50,000, police announced Thursday.
Richard Lawson Jr. was 31 when he was bludgeoned to death in his Wilson Avenue home early on the morning of July 30.
The reward bulletin includes a photo of the victim and a plea from the family:
“Please help us find the person(s) responsible for RJ’s death which occurred on July 30th 2014 at his home in Elko, Nevada. He was a hardworking man holding down two jobs (Taco Bell and High Desert Inn) and at the time of his death, had just started working at Timberline Drilling. His family can’t sleep and still lives in fear they could be next.”
Police were called by a roommate to the home around 3:30 a.m. and found Lawson’s body in his bedroom, which had an outside entrance.
Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact Detective Pete Nielson at the Elko Police Department. Call 777-7324 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“You can remain anonymous,” stated the announcement.
ELKO — A Spring Creek man accused of calling in a bomb threat to the Elko County Courthouse was arrested Wednesday after attempting to evade Elko police.
A criminal complaint filed in September charges Casey D. Overacker, 34, with making the threat on June 19, the day his girlfriend Shawna Parker was scheduled to appear in court.
Police officers were making their rounds Wednesday when they spotted Overacker approaching a trailer residence.
“The officers were familiar with Overacker and knowing that he had outstanding warrants called to him to stop,” said Elko Police Lt. Mike Palhegyi.
According to Palhegyi, Overacker ignored the request and continued into the residence. Law enforcement approached the home and knocked on the door to try to speak with Overacker. The suspect ignored the knocks and refused to open the door.
Police were later able to obtain a search warrant for the residence, entered and placed Overacker under arrest.
“It seems that he just did not want to go to jail,” said Palhegyi.
According to court documents, authorities were able to trace the phone number of the bomb threat to Parker, who was on the docket to appear in court that day. When they confronted her she reportedly implicated Overacker.
Overacker was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear after bail for communicating a bomb threat and two counts of failure to appear after bail on a misdemeanor crime. His bail was listed at $22,412.
According to Elko Daily Free Press files, Parker and Overacker were arrested in May at a local motel after Parker was allegedly observed passing a counterfeit $20 bill. A small amount of heroin and drug paraphernalia were found in the room, along with two additional counterfeit bills on Parker, according to police.
ELKO – Elko police are warning the public about telephone scammers who are bilking people by pretending to represent the Internal Revenue Service.
“We’ve had some people get taken for a considerable amount of money on it,” said Lt. Mike Palhegyi.
An Elko woman lost $5,400 when someone claiming to be from the IRS called her and told her she was wanted on a warrant for tax evasion and needed to send that amount in gift cards or she would be arrested.
Palhegyi said IRS agents don’t deal in gift cards or demand money over the phone.
Similar scams have been pulled recently on local residents by people claiming to represent certain charities.
“They tend to prey on the elderly” he said.
Scams involving people claiming to represent the IRS have been reported by Elko residents multiple times over the past few years, with slight variations.
Anyone receiving scam telephone calls may contact police at 777-7310.
ELKO – A Spring Creek woman was arrested Thursday on drug charges at an Elko motel following an investigation conducted by the Elko Combined Narcotics Unit.
Mercedes Martinez, 23, was booked into the Elko County Jail charges of possession of heroin and methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was wanted for failure to appear in court on a misdemeanor crime.
With the assistance of the Elko County Sheriff’s Office and Elko Police Department, detectives confirmed that Martinez was staying at a motel on Idaho Street. After receiving a search warrant on the room whey recovered a small quantity of drugs and paraphernalia.
Martinez’s bail was set at $12,920.00.
Anyone with narcotics information can call the Elko Combined Narcotics Unit tip line at 775-777-DOPE (3673).
The Elko Combined Narcotics Unit includes detectives from the Nevada Department of Public Safety’s Investigation Division, Elko County Sheriff’s Office, Elko Police Department, Carlin Police Department and West Wendover Police Department.
ELKO — A wanted felon was arrested Sunday on weapon and drug charges after allegedly attempting to steal a cattle prod from CAL Ranch.
Joseph C. Forrest, 29, of Elko entered the store around noon and carried a package that contained a cattle prod into the restroom, leaving its packaging in the room, according to police Lt. Mike Palhegyi.
Forrest was initially going to be placed under citizen’s arrest on trespassing and larceny charges, but police were called because he was armed with the stun gun, Palhegyi said.
Forrest was also charged with carrying a concealed weapon — a knife in a shoulder holster — which is illegal for felons. He was also reportedly carrying a small amount of heroin and methamphetamine, leading to possession and multiple paraphernalia charges.
According to Free Press files, Forrest was placed on the Elko County Sheriff’s “most wanted” list in March 2015 after skipping out on the drug charges. He was also prosecuted on burglary and car theft charges in 2013.
Forrest was bound over to Elko District Court on earlier drug charges in January.
His bail on the current charges was set at $26,840.
WEST WENDOVER — A Utah woman was arrested Wednesday under a felony warrant for first-degree burglary, grand larceny and theft at the West Wendover Nugget Casino.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Elko Justice Court, Robin Annette Olsen, 48, of American Fork approached a couple at the casino’s registration desk and offered them a room for two nights at $120. Olsen told them that she had to travel back to Salt Lake City and gave them her telephone number and keys to the room once they had paid Olsen. Then, the couple proceeded to take their luggage to the room Olsen offered them, and upon returning from the Dollar Store found that they were locked out of the room.
They contacted casino security. According to a report by West Wendover police, the Lamms entered the room and found that all of their belongings were stolen. This included one black suitcase, one purse with a credit and Social Security card, medication, one blue makeup box, and about $500 to $750 in cash.
At that time, one of the victims also informed police that her stolen debit card had been used at a Shell gas station on the Utah side. Police then investigated the player’s registration for Robin Olsen to get a photograph of her and to record all of the information available on Olsen’s Utah driver’s license.
Police then determined from security camera footage that Olsen left the Nugget Casino room with the couple’s belongings.
A warrant was issued for Olsen’s arrest, and she was taken into custody Wednesday at Utah County Jail.
ELKO — Sammual R. Munk, 18, was arrested Wednesday for two counts of possession of a dangerous weapon on Elko High School property and as a minor in possession of an alcoholic beverage in public.
According to Lt. Mike Palhegyi of the Elko Police Department, the county resource officer at the school was patrolling the school’s parking lot when he saw smoke billowing out of a pickup truck’s window. The officer approached the vehicle to address the issue of smoking on school property.
The officer then smelled and identified the presence of an alcoholic beverage. The officer searched the vehicle and found several weapons, including a loaded 22-caliber revolver, an unloaded 22-caliber rifle, and several knives.
The officer arrested Munk, while three other students in the vehicle were released back to the high school after the incident.
The county resource officer for Elko High School was unavailable for comment, and Principal Tim Wickersham said he could not comment on the arrest.
Superintendent of Schools Jeff Zander said the district would release a statement Friday after reviewing the incident.
ELKO — The Elko Narcotics Unit arrested three Spring Creek residents and recovered more than 83 grams of heroin Thursday night following an investigation into local drug distribution.
At 8:30 p.m. officers including the Elko police SWAT team served a search warrant at 743 Devon Drive. Officers recovered 83.49 grams of heroin, 1.45 grams of methamphetamine, 31 doses of prescription drugs, numerous items of paraphernalia, and two firearms.
The three occupants of the home also face child endangerment charges, although no information was provided on children in the residence.
Efren Aguirre Jr., 45, of Spring Creek was booked on one count of possession of a controlled substance of methamphetamine, one count of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of controlled substances for sale, two counts of trafficking of a controlled substance, and conspiracy to violate the Controlled Substances Act, according to the Narcotics unit press release.
Aguirre also faces booking for two counts of an ex-felon in possession of a gun by a prohibited user and for child abuse and neglect, according to the Elko Sheriff’s Office log of arrests. Bail for Aguirre is set at $480,640.
Tera A. Madison, 38, of Spring Creek was booked on one count of possession of a controlled substance for methamphetamine, one count of possession of a controlled substance for heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of controlled substances for sale, two counts of trafficking a controlled substance, and conspiracy to violate the Controlled Substances Act.
Madison also faces booking for child abuse or neglect. Bail for Madison is set at $440,640.
Kaila S. Leyva, 20, of Spring Creek was booked on one count of possession of a controlled substance for methamphetamine, one count of possession of a controlled substance for heroin, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Leyva also was found to have an additional 1.22 grams of heroin and .09 grams of methamphetamine, according the Narcotics Unit press release.
Leyva also faces charges for child abuse and neglect. Bail for Leyva is set at $110,640.
The investigation team also included the Elko County Sheriff’s office and the Nevada Highway Patrol.
The investigation is ongoing as the team anticipates further arrests to be made. They ask anyone with further information on this case or other drug dealing to contact the Narcotics unit tip line at 775-777-DOPE (3673).
Correction: This article has been changed to correct the name and age of Efren Aguirre Jr.
WEST WENDOVER – Police arrested two Utah residents on forgery charges Friday at the Rainbow casino.
Andrew Pham, 35, of West Valley, Utah was at the Rainbow casino when he approached the cashier’s cage to cash a business check, and the cashier notified security believing it was forged, according to West Wendover police.
Another witness believed Pham to have a concealed firearm, and Pham was “patted down” to check for weapons.
Pham was arrested for being in possession of a weapon by an unauthorized person, carrying and concealing a knife without a permit, four counts of intent to enter a fictional check, four counts of forgery, obtaining money on a false pretense, and possession of a controlled substance. His bail was listed at $112,500.
Narron Polygam, 34, of West Jordan was interviewed by officers on the scene and found to be in possession of fraudulent checks. His bail was listed at $20,000.
The investigation recovered several credit cards and checks that had been reported stolen, and officers of the West Wendover police are continuing the investigation with other jurisdictions in the Salt Lake City area.
ELKO – Brennen Ashby of Elko was arrested Wednesday by the Elko Combined Narcotics Unit on multiple drug charges, concluding an ongoing investigation.
Ashby, 35, was arrested on three felony counts of sale of a controlled substance and two counts of trafficking a controlled substance, identified as methamphetamine, according to the Elko Combined Narcotics Unit. Bail totals $100,000.
“This investigation took place over four months,” said Sgt. Marc Conley. “We used several sources of information. We were able to surveillance him on multiple occasions to determine he had been selling in the Elko area.”
The investigation recovered a total of 27.33 grams of methamphetamine, and the Elko Combined Narcotics Unit anticipates more charges to be filed, according to the Elko Combined Narcotics Unit.
ELKO — Two men were arrested Saturday morning for an attempt to burglarize an Ormaza Construction Co. warehouse on Silver Street.
Witnesses on the scene saw two men in hoodies tampering with the building at 225 Silver St. and signs of forced entry. Officers arrived on the scene and proceeded to yell into the warehouse for the men to surrender to arrest.
Jeffrey L. Stanley, 37, of Orlando, Florida willingly came out with his hands up to be arrested, according to Lt. Mike Palhegyi of the Elko Police Department.
However, officers on the scene heard additional footsteps inside the warehouse. When the second man did not appear, a K-9 officer was called in.
Vernon D. Nelson, 37, of Elko was found inside the warehouse by the K-9 officer, curled up inside a plastic pipe, according to Palhegyi.
Stanley and Nelson were arrested shortly after 6 a.m. on charges of first-degree burglary with bail set at $20,000 each.
ELKO – A former Wells elementary teacher facing charges of sex with multiple high school students waived her preliminary hearing in justice court Nov. 1.
Tennille Whitaker was scheduled for a hearing Nov. 7 in Elko Justice Court on 12 counts of sexual contact between a school employee or volunteer and pupil, a category C felony. The charges are spread among four male Wells High School students between the ages of 16 and 18 years old.
Court documents stated the conduct took place on school property. Whitaker was an employee of the Elko County School District for 11 years and resigned in August.
By waiving the preliminary hearing, Whitaker is bound over to Elko District Court for arraignment at a later date which has not been set.
Whitaker was released from custody after posting bail the day after her arrest in June.
ELKO – A fraud case from 2016 culminated with the felony arrest of Carolyn Staub on Nov. 5 by the Nevada Highway Patrol in collaboration with Elko Police Department.
“We stopped her on the warrant at a traffic stop around 9:43 a.m.,” Lt. James Simpson said.
According to Elko Police Lt. Mike Palhegyi, this fraud case opened in 2016 when Staub was an executive assistant for the Elko County Association of Realtors. She was hired on April 1 and was issued a credit card by the organization.
Staub, 34, allegedly proceeded to use the credit card to make personal purchases up to $2,500 from Amazon, and others from iTunes, without permission from the association.
Staub was suspended from her position in August 2016, but managed to wipe two computers before the suspension occurred, Palhegyi said.
Detectives from the Elko Police Department interviewed Staub, and she admitted to the expenditures on the company’s credit card, claiming the association had told her she could use the card for personal purchases, according to Palhegyi.
A warrant was issued for Staub, and she did not resist arrest by the Nevada Highway Patrol officer under the warrant, according to Simpson.
Staub faces charges of embezzling funds between $650-$3,500 with bail set at $10,000.
ELKO – Elko police arrested Mario H. Benavides of Elko on a charge of domestic battery this weekend.
Officers responded to a call from a female victim at the residence of 1040 A St. The victim reported a complaint of neck and back pain from a fall. After further investigation by officers, the victim’s injuries were determined as a result of battery and domestic violence from Benavides. These injuries also include attempts at strangulation, according Lt. Mike Palhegyi of the Elko Police Department.
Benavides, 35, also allegedly attempted to prohibit the female victim from contacting police and emergency personnel by taking away her cellphone, according to Lt. Palhegyi.
Benavides was arrested on a second offense of domestic battery, and has bail set at $5,140.
ELKO – Elko police arrested a former casino food service worker Wednesday on a warrant charging multiple counts of embezzlement.
Sergio A. Estrada, 29, of Elko allegedly embezzled funds from December 2016 through July 2017 while he was employed at Stockmen’s. He targeted several parties, beginning with the Elko Rotary Club, according to Lt. Mike Palhegyi.
Estrada is accused of taking the checks and cash given to him by individuals and depositing them into his personal account at Wells Fargo.
Court documents said Estrada is suspected of making several deposits totaling more than $10,000. Investigators met with eight people who said they gave Estrada the money as deposits for events and receptions at the Stockmen’s.
Estrada worked at the Stockmen’s as a catering supervisor and was placed on administrative leave in July, after a report from the Sunrise Rotary bookkeeper that the Stockmen’s did not receive five of the club’s checks totaling $1,203.93.
Estrada denied that he accepted the checks despite photocopies presented by Elko police officers. He failed to show up for a subsequent police interview, according to Palhegyi, so a warrant was issued for his arrest.
On checks allegedly deposited in the suspects’ account, the word “Stockmen’s’” was crossed out and replaced with the suspect’s name, court documents say.
One victim told police Estrada took $3,000 as a deposit in March for an event in September, but received it back after he called her and told her he wasn’t working at the Stockmen’s.
Estrada faces two counts of embezzlement of over $3,500, four counts of intent to utter a fictional bill and check, and three counts of embezzlement ranging from $650 to $3,500. Bail is $90,000.
ELKO – An Elko man accused of stealing a newspaper delivery van in January was arrested Monday night on a bench warrant for failure to appear in court.
Roland R. Reynolds, 46, of Elko faces charges of robbery and grand larceny stemming from his alleged theft of a Times-News van at the Ryndon Country Store that was loaded with Elko Daily Free Press newspapers in the early morning hours of Jan. 26.
He was released on bail after his arrest in January and was issued a summons to appear in Elko Justice Court for a preliminary hearing on two charges of robbery and grand larceny.
Reynolds did not appear for hearings set in March and April, so a bench warrant was issued, said court administrator Randall Soderquist.
Reynolds, who is now being held in Elko County Jail on $30,000 bail, is expected to apply for counsel and receive a date for a preliminary hearing, said Soderquist.
ELKO – A tribal elder states he was wrongfully arrested Wednesday when he and another Elko Band Council member attempted to retrieve documents at the Elko Indian Colony.
Felix Ike, 72, an Elko Band councilman, said he was “illegally arrested by Western Shoshone Department of Public Safety Officers who assaulted and kidnapped” him.
Ike said he was confronted by authorities at the Te-Moak office the morning of Nov. 15 when he and Elko Band council member Penny Stevens arrived to retrieve documents and the officers told him they had orders to arrest him. Ike said he told the officers that if they interfered with the actions of the council they would be immediately terminated, which they did not accept.
Ike then said he was rushed by an officer and proceeded to have his hands cuffed behind his back.
“They couldn’t get my arms behind my back,” Ike said, explaining he has a disabled right arm. “I was pinned against the building. I couldn’t move.”
“They said ‘you better move your arm or we’ll sock you in the face,’” Ike said.
An Elko Daily Free Press message left with Te-Moak tribal law enforcement was not returned.
Ike said he was then put in the police car and first taken to Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital where he was given a blood pressure test and an EKG. He also requested x-rays of his elbow, shoulder and wrist.
Ike said he was driven to the detention center in Duck Valley where he was released shortly after arriving. He said he was not given a report on the charges he was held on, but was told by an officer it involved the TPO order for Te-Moak chairwoman Lydia Johnson, resisting arrest, abuse of power, and disturbing the peace.
An arrest warrant charging contempt was issued Nov. 6 by the Court of Indian Offenses for the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada naming Johnson as the defendant.
“The officers of the WSDPS, without authority and provocation, acted with disregard for the directives of their employer, the Te-Moak Tribe,” Ike said.
“Their actions will eventually be tried in a court of law, with competent jurisdiction and they will be held accountable individually for their breach of law under the color of office.”
ELKO – Te-Moak Western Shoshone Law Enforcement announced the list of charges against Elko Band Councilman Felix Ike that led to his arrest Nov. 15 at the Elko Indian Colony.
In a statement from press information officer Richard Thunehorst, Ike faces charges of disobedience of lawful order of the court, violation of a temporary restraining order, abuse of office, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.
“These are all violations of the code of federal regulations of the Court of Indian offenses,” Thunehorst said. “Per internal policies we can not release any additional information in regard to pending cases.”
Ike said last week he was wrongfully arrested at the Te-Moak offices when he and another councilwoman, Penny Stevens, attempted to retrieve documents for Te-Moak tribal chairwoman Lydia Johnson.
A warrant was issued for Johnson’s arrest and incarceration Nov. 6 by the Court of Indian Offenses stemming from a Te-Moak Tribal council meeting held on Nov. 3.
The document states Johnson was in contempt of a restraining order issued against her. It is unclear if that order is related to the one mentioned in Ike’s charges.
Johnson has yet to be arrested.
This article has been updated for the correct name of the press information officer.
ELKO — Three Las Vegas residents were arrested Sunday on charges of attempting to steal a vehicle from the Walmart parking lot.
The owner of a 2000 Ford pickup noticed that the ignition of his vehicle had been tampered with and notified the Elko Police Department, according to Lt. Mike Palhegyi.
The three suspects allegedly returned to tamper with the vehicle a second time after police had arrived to investigate. The officer identified them as the same suspects from the earlier incident caught on surveillance camera footage from the store.
Jessica D. Barnes, 34; Robert E. Rushwam, 38; and Vincent J. Debarr, 46 were arrested for attempted grand larceny of a vehicle. Bail was set at $20,000 each.
Debarr was also charged with violating his probation.
ELKO – A 15-year-old male was shot to death Sunday evening in West Wendover, and his 21-year-old brother was taken to Elko County Jail.
Lt. Don Lininger of the West Wendover Police Department said officers were called shortly after 7 p.m. to a home on the 800 block of Ash Street on a report of a juvenile with a gunshot wound.
They found the juvenile with a wound to his torso. Officers and medical personnel rendered aid, however, the juvenile succumbed to his injuries on scene. Lininger said the victim’s body will be examined Tuesday at the medical examiner’s office in Washoe County.
The two juveniles were in a back bedroom of the home and other family members were in the residence at the time of the shooting, said Lininger.
He said officers were initially told that Ivan Lopez had accidentally shot his brother. As emergency crews responded Ivan left the scene. Family members and officers then had contact with Ivan over the phone, and he returned to the scene a short while later and turned himself in to authorities.
Ivan Lopez was booked in the Elko County Jail shortly after 10 p.m. on a charge of involuntary manslaughter. He is still being held while the West Wendover Police Department along with the Elko County Sheriff’s Department continue to investigate the scene of the crime, gather the shooter’s statements, and any other information from the family about incidents earlier that day leading up to the shooting.
Police will also determine the registered owner of the firearm.
Both departments are working closely with the Elko District Attorney’s Office on this case to determine if further charges will be warranted, Lininger added.
Family members who were present in the residence are cooperating with officers, he said.