Fourth Suspect Facing Additional Charges
By Carlos Padilla
All four defendants who were arrested in the July 31 drug sting in the 400-block of North Birch Street appeared in Sierra County Magistrate Court on Thursday, Aug. 16, for preliminary hearings.
Three of the defendants – Todd Jager, Jessie R. Lowman-Fenton, and Jacob White – were represented by attorneys who entered guilty pleas and waived their clients’ appearances in the preliminary hearings. These three defendants, each still incarcerated in the Sierra County Detention Center, had their cases bound over to the Seventh Judicial District Court. The fact that all of the charges for each of these defendants was bound over to District Court indicates that the prosecution is armed with strong cases.
The fourth defendant, 18-year-old Daniel Price, had previously made bond and was released from jail. Price was scheduled for a preliminary hearing along with his three co-defendants on Thursday, however, a reported mix-up with legal representation for Price resulted in his preliminary hearing being continued for another date, which has not yet been scheduled in Magistrate Court.
On Tuesday, Aug. 14, Seventh Judicial District Attorney’s Office Senior Investigator R.D. Hays filed an amended arrest warrant affidavit for Price, charging him with additional criminal charges.
Daniel Price originally was charged with two criminal counts, including fourth-degree distribution of a controlled substance (marijuana), and fourth-degree conspiracy to commit a felony (distribution of a controlled substance – marijuana). With those two charges, Price was facing a potential sentence of three years if found guilty of both charges.
As a result of the amended affidavit, Price is now facing three additional and much more serious criminal charges, including second-degree racketeering, third-degree conspiracy to commit racketeering, and third-degree conspiracy traffic ecstasy.
Truth or Consequences Police Department Detective Mike Lanford and DA Investigator Hays told The Herald that, with these additional charges, 18-year-old Daniel Price is now facing a potential sentence of 18 years, if found guilty of all five criminal counts.
During the course of the investigation, a search warrant was obtained and executed on Aug. 2, for a residence on Doris Street in Williamsburg, where Daniel Price and Jacob White resided.
“During the execution of that search warrant, a pre-packaged bindle of marijuana, that was consistent with the size and packaging of the marijuana purchased by the undercover DEA Agents on July 31, 2012, was recovered from the pocket of a pair of blue jeans in the bedroom located at the west end of the residence,” reads the amended arrest warrant affidavit. Numerous items in that room indicated Price was the occupant of that room.
A second search warrant was drafted and obtained to allow authorities to download and retrieve the information stored within cell phones seized on July 31.
The cell phone seized from Price contained photographs of a large quantity of marijuana dated July 29, and matched furniture located in Todd Jager’s residence during the execution of the search warrant on July 31.
In addition to the photographs were several text messages from individuals asking to purchase controlled substances, and setting up meetings for the sale of the controlled substances.
The individuals identified in the phone reportedly are minors. Criminal charges may be filed against these individuals, according to Detective Lanford and Investigator Hays.