Wednesday, March 4, 2009

4 charged with felonies after drug seizure

Feds investigating small pipe bomb found at mid-valley home


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Jose Alberto Vera-Hidalgo, Benjamin C. Wagstaff, Francisco Llamas-Espino, Lesdi Parra-Quinones.

,Four men have been charged with felony drug crimes in Blaine County Magistrate Court following a bust last week by the county's Narcotics Enforcement Team.

The men were arrested on Feb. 25 after search warrants were executed in Hailey, on Alturas Drive in the mid-valley, and south of Bellevue. The Blaine County Sheriff's Office reported that about a quarter pound of cocaine was seized, plus one ounce of methamphetamine, $3,500 in cash and three vehicles.

"It's a good bust," said sheriff's Lt. Jay Davis. "It's hopefully leading us into more."

The Narcotics Enforcement Team, usually referred to as NET, was assisted by Idaho State Police, a federal Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent and law enforcement officers from throughout the Wood River Valley.

Davis declined to discuss the investigation that led to the bust, but court records suggest that police were assisted by a confidential informant.

"That, I can't say much about," he said. "There's some issues out there that we don't want to let out."

The Twin Falls Police Department bomb squad got called in after what Davis described as a "small pipe bomb" was found at 249 Alturas Dr., where 27-year-old Benjamin Wagstaff was arrested on methamphetamine charges. Police used a robot to remove and detonate the device. Davis said the ATF is investigating to see if Wagstaff will be charged with a federal crime.

According to court records, Wagstaff has been charged with three counts of delivery of methamphetamine. He is currently free on $25,000 bond.

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Jose Alberto Vera-Hidalgo, 29, was arrested at 310 Walnut St. in Hailey. He has been charged with two counts of delivery of cocaine and one count of possession of the substance. He remained incarcerated Tuesday in the Blaine County jail on $60,000 bond.

The NET reported that Lesdi Parra-Quinones, 24, was arrested in a traffic stop on north Gannett Road south of Bellevue and was allegedly found with cocaine. He has been charged with two counts of aiding and abetting delivery of cocaine and one count of delivery or possession of the drug when children are present. Parra-Quinones remained in jail Tuesday on $100,000 bond.

The fourth man charged with felony drug crimes is 34-year-old Francisco Llamas-Espino. He was arrested at 202 Alturas Dr. Llamas-Espino was charged with two counts of drug trafficking in cocaine. He remained incarcerated Tuesday on $125,000 bond.

The NET reported that Augusto Martinez-Lazo, 37, was arrested last August at the same home, where nearly 30 pounds of marijuana, several guns and about $130,000 in cash were seized. That case was transferred from local to federal jurisdiction.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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