Grass Valley woman held on drug charges |

Grass Valley woman held on drug charges

A Grass Valley woman who was the driver of a vehicle pulled over on a traffic stop in Cedar Ridge in March was held to answer on charges of sales, possessing and transporting a controlled substance for sale.

The decision by Nevada County Superior Court Judge Robert Tice-Raskin came after a length preliminary hearing in which Jessica Henkel’s public defender sought to uncover the real reason behind the traffic stop — information provided to the Nevada County Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force by a confidential informant.

Nevada County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Sullivan testified that he pulled Henkel over in March after she turned left without using her turn signal.

Sullivan testified that after he stopped the SUV, with passengers Robert Gregory Tabarez, 33, and Anthony Reuben Vigil, 32, both of Sacramento, narcotics detectives Jason Mackey and Sgt. Justin Martin arrived.

“I assumed they were there to assist,” Sullivan said, adding they told him they were taking over.

Sullivan initially refused to answer when questioned as to why he was following Henkel; he then testified that Martin had told him to follow the vehicle and try and make a stop.

A search of the vehicle reportedly uncovered more than a pound of marijuana, 72.39 grams of heroin and 219.21 grams of methamphetamine.

Martin and Det. Esteban Salinas repeatedly invoked privilege when questioned regarding how information was obtained regarding Henkel’s vehicle.

According to Salinas, Henkel admitted to only a small amount of drugs in the SUV, and “seemed very surprised” at the quantity found.

Martin testified that he had instructed Sullivan to find probable cause to stop the vehicle, and gave him a description. He said he had received information there was contraband in the vehicle.

Henkel is set for formal arraignment June 17.

Tabarez is set to enter a plea June 23; Vigil failed to appear for a May hearing and a $25,000 bench warrant was issued.

Suspected pot dealer takes plea

A man from New York who was pulled over with 22 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle took a plea agreement in court Tuesday.

A Nevada County Sheriff’s deputy was on patrol in March when he saw a vehicle with no taillights, and pulled the vehicle over.

While talking to the driver, the deputy reportedly smelled marijuana. The driver and passenger reportedly told him they had smoked marijuana earlier but denied having any in the vehicle.

A search of the vehicle reportedly uncovered 22 one-pound bags of marijuana cola in the trunk; both men reportedly claimed the marijuana belonged to the other person.

The driver, identified as David George Powell, 32, was arrested and booked into county jail on suspicion of possessing hash and possession for sale.

Powell pleaded no contest to felony accessory after the fact in return for three years probation. He agreed to forfeit the marijuana, and is subject to search and seizure terms. He also is not allowed to possess more than 8 ounces of marijuana.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4229.

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