ELKO – Law enforcement agents confiscated more than 8 pounds of meth and several hundred chickens — both living and dead — during a March 19 drug bust in Osino.
The homeowner and two other residents were formally charged Friday with a combined 20 criminal counts relating to their arrest on drug trafficking and animal abuse charges.
Elko’s Combined Narcotics Task Force led the raid at the Kale Drive home of Jorge Landeros Ruiz, 42. Also arrested were Hector H. Ramirez-de la Torre, 34, and Eduardo Ruiz, 33.
All three were charged in a single complaint. According to probable cause documents filed with the complaint, narcotics detectives made three large purchases of meth from Ramirez-de la Torre in March. When they served a search warrant at Ruiz’s residence, they found half a pound of methamphetamine and a stolen firearm in Ramirez-de la Torre’s trailer on the property.
A container found between two chicken coops on the property contained several bags that tested positive for meth and cocaine.
Elko Combined Narcotics Unit detectives, as well as personnel from the Elko Police Department and Elko County Sheriff’s Office, remained on scene for 10 days and nights conducting extensive searches and investigations regarding the animals, resulting in the location of additional illegal drugs and other evidence. Detectives also provided food, water, and veterinary care for the various animals.
In total, 8.8 pounds of methamphetamine and $13,000 in U.S. currency were confiscated, the ECNU reported Thursday. Street value of the meth could be $160,000 or more, according to the website narcoticsnews.com.
Eight firearms were recovered from the property. At least one of the firearms recovered had been reported as stolen.
Additionally, several hundred items of evidence related to fighting roosters, or “cockfighting” were recovered from the property.
More than 500 chickens were located on the property, as well as several incubators. With the assistance of the Nevada Department of Agriculture and the Elko County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control, 248 roosters were identified as having been abused and/or treated cruelly. Pursuant to a court order, these roosters were humanely euthanized by a veterinarian on scene.
A total of nine dogs and four horses were surrendered to Animal Control, with one horse being in such poor condition that it had to be euthanized by a veterinarian on scene.
All three defendants face multiple charges of unlawful killing or maiming of an animal kept for companionship or pleasure, and possession of an animal with intent to have it fight with another animal.
Ramirez-de la Torre faces four counts of drug trafficking, and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
Jorge Ruiz faces two counts of drug trafficking, and maintaining a place for unlawful use of a controlled substance.
Eduardo Ruiz faces one count of drug trafficking, and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.