Friday, September 29, 2006

Suspected pot farmer released from jail

Men arrested in Carey bust face new felonies


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

One of two men accused of running a marijuana growing operation north of Carey has been released from the Blaine County Jail after posting $30,000 bond.

Leobardo Vega, 31, of Heyburn, was released on Sept. 18 after bond was paid by American Eagle Bail Bonds of Ketchum.

Eduardo Mariscal-Castellon, 30, also of Heyburn, remained in custody Thursday afternoon. According to Blaine County Jail records, his bond is $60,000. Court records show that Mariscal-Castellon is also being detained for suspicion of being an illegal alien.

Both men now face four felonies. They have been charged with one count each of marijuana drug trafficking, one count each of failure to affix a drug tax stamp, and two counts each of grand theft by possession of stolen property.

The grand theft charges were filed on Sept. 18 because the men were allegedly in possession of a 1997 Nissan Pathfinder that the Blaine County Sheriff's Office says was stolen from Pasco, Wash.

Vega and Mariscal-Castellon were arrested on Sept. 4 after authorities raided a marijuana growing operation near Little Wood Reservoir north of Carey. Officers confiscated some 2,000 4- to 6-feet-tall marijuana plants and burned most of them on Sept. 7 at the Ohio Gulch Transfer Station north of Hailey. A few plants were retained for evidence.

Authorities are still searching for two other suspects who officers say escaped when the growing operation was raided. A probable cause affidavit from the Blaine County Sheriff's Office identifies the two men as possibly "Chango" and "Seraphin."

The drug bust was the biggest outdoor growing operation ever found in Blaine County, said sheriff's office spokesman Sgt. Jay Davis.

Officers found camps the suspects were allegedly living at near the six plots where the plants were found.

Preliminary hearings for Vega and Mariscal-Castellon have been scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 3, in Blaine County Magistrate Court.

Vega is represented by public defender Stephen Thompson and Mariscal-Castellon by public defender Cheri Hicks.




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