Second fentanyl exposure defendant waives hearing

Kurt Hildebrand / The Record-Courier
Jessica Thomas

STATELINE, Nev. — A woman facing multiple counts of fentanyl trafficking waived her Thursday preliminary hearing and is scheduled to appear in Douglas County District Court on Feb. 28.

Sacramento resident Jessica Thomas, 32, has been in custody since her Oct. 20, 2022, arrest facing charges she and Regina Rojas, 35, sold 20.25 ounces of fentanyl.

Several hearing dates have been set and postponed in Thomas’ case for a variety of reasons. Prosecutor Erik Levin said there is no plea agreement in the case, which means Thomas could face decades in prison if she admits the charges in district court.

Waiving a preliminary hearing is not in itself an admission of guilt.

Thomas may still deny the multiple trafficking felonies she is facing in district court. Winning a case at trial will be difficult after her co-defendant was sentenced 32.5 years in prison on Monday.

Thomas and Regina Rojas, 35, were arrested in connection with an ill-fated drug sting that sent five Douglas County deputies to the hospital for exposure to the deadly drug.

One deputy was near death as a result of the incident at Stateline, and the jail had to be decontaminated. The Chevrolet sedan the pair drove was so toxic that medics had to be called the following day to treat a deputy investigating the case.

Douglas County District Attorney Mark Jackson said he considers the trafficking of fentanyl an aggravated public safety offense and his office will vigorously prosecute such cases.

In addition to her prison sentence, Rojas was ordered to pay fines and fees totaling $14,238 and she was ordered to pay restitution to Douglas County in the amount of $22,737 for worker’s compensation claims and cleaning costs of patrol vehicles and replacement costs of some equipment related to the deputies’ exposure to the fentanyl.

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