Anonymous letter leads to drug bust
A drug dealer who had a past run-in with the law had another encounter with authorities when he was arrested Thursday outside the watering hole The Brothers Place with 20 half-gram bindles of cocaine, thousands of dollars in cash and three cell phones, authorities said.
Efren Jacinto Hernandez, 34, was arrested in April 2003 and sentenced to a year in jail when he was caught possessing and dealing cocaine at Nepheles Restaurant.
An anonymous letter sent in January told authorities the players in the Nepheles bust were back in town. After Hernandez’s Thursday arrest, further investigation by officers with SLEDNET, South Shore’s drug enforcement agency, led to Economy Lodge where Domingo Rojas-Barrigan was staying. In the hotel room, $17,700 in cash was discovered, which was believed to be connected to Hernandez’s drug activity, said Chris Elliott, commander of SLEDNET.
Both Hernandez and Rojas-Barrigan were booked into El Dorado County Jail at no bail on suspicion of conspiracy to possess cocaine for sale and violations of parole or probation.
Elliott said Rojas-Barrigan served prison time stemming from a July 2003 arrest for possessing cocaine and forged documents.
Both Hernandez and Rojas-Barrigan were deported, Elliott said.
When sentenced three months after his arrest at Nepheles, El Dorado County Judge Jerald Lasarow told Hernandez that if he illegally returned to the United States or was found possessing illegal drugs, a harsher sentence of six years and four years in prison would be imposed.
The estimated street value of the seized cocaine was $600. Elliott said Hernandez would commonly sell half-gram bindles of cocaine for $30.
The value of the seized cocaine paled in comparison to the value of marijuana plants also captured Thursday.
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