Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Trial looms for accused cocaine dealer

Gooding man allegedly sold drugs to confidential informant

Express Staff Writer

A trial is scheduled for Sept. 9 for a Gooding man accused of dealing cocaine in Blaine County.

Twenty-seven-year-old Ricardo Lopez-Villa is charged with felony trafficking in cocaine for allegedly selling an ounce of the drug to a "confidential informant" on Jan. 23 in Ketchum. He was indicted on the charge by a Blaine County grand jury on June 18.

Blaine County court records state that Lopez-Villa was arrested on July 2 but do not specify where the arrest took place or who was the arresting police agency.

Bond was originally set at $75,000 but was reduced to $35,000 at a court hearing July 9. Bond was posted on July 16 and Lopez-Villa was released from the Blaine County Jail.

According to court records, defense attorney Kevin Cassidy stated at the bond-reduction hearing that Lopez-Villa is a "legal resident" who has "lived in the area his whole life."

Cassidy further stated that Lopez-Villa has "many ties in the community, has a child, participates in the Gooding Soccer League and is in the process of buying a home."

Court records state that Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas argued against bond reduction, saying that Lopez-Villa has been charged twice with felony DUI, once in Gooding County and the other time in Jerome County, and has two prior "possession charges."

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