Penn Valley man held to answer on drug, gun charges |

Penn Valley man held to answer on drug, gun charges

A Nevada County judge held a Penn Valley man Thursday to answer on drug and weapons charges stemming from three separate cases dating back to 2014.

The first case, from April, involved a search warrant served after a probation search of another man by members of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force.

Sheriff’s Det. Mark Hollitz testified at a preliminary hearing into the evidence against David Jon Barney that he and other members of the task force had gone to a residence in the 11000 block of Flying T Road.

Hollitz said they stopped a vehicle coming from the property being driven by Barney after Det. John Dzioba recognized his passenger as Joseph Jeffries, who was on post-release community supervision.

A search of the Jeep uncovered several hypodermic needles on the floorboard underneath a T-shirt, and a coin purse in the center console area with a used pipe and 29.85 grams of methamphetamine, Hollitz said.

Barney said the meth belonged to Jeffries, Hollitz testified.

A search warrant was subsequently obtained for Barney’s residence on Buttercup Court, where Hollitz said a loaded gun was found in the ceiling rafter, as well as a pouch with 0.6 grams of meth and a pipe, a digital gram scale, and a hypodermic needle.

Hollitz testified at length as to what amount would be considered for personal use versus sales, telling Superior Court Judge Linda Sloven that anything over an “eight-ball” — one-eighth of an ounce — would likely indicate possession for sale.

Deputy Jeff Martin testified about conducting two separate traffic stops on Barney in November near Indian Springs and Long Valley roads.

Martin testified that he was on patrol on Nov. 3 and saw Barney driving a Jeep with no front license plate and expired registration. He said he cited Barney and arranged for the Jeep to be towed.

A subsequent search of the Jeep revealed a sock with a meth pipe in the center console, and two baggies of meth totaling 15 grams between the seat and the console, Martin said, adding that Barney denied ownership.

On cross-examination, Martin testified that Barney’s passenger said the pipe belonged to her, but not the meth.

Martin said that he was patrolling the same area on Nov. 16 when he saw Barney driving the Jeep and ran him, discovering he was driving on an expired driver’s license. He testified that he made a traffic stop and smelled marijuana.

Barney reportedly consented to a search, and Martin testified that he found a small bag of meth in the pocket of Barney’s jeans.

“He said he had just bought the pants at a thrift store,” Martin said.

Deputy District Attorney Oliver Pong told Sloven that the three arrests, added together, presented a clear picture of drug sales.

“Once is an anomaly, twice is a coincidence, but three times is a pattern,” he said,

Barney’s attorney, Greg Klein, argued that a special allegation involving a gun enhancement, and a charge of possessing a controlled substance while armed, should not apply because the gun was found in a different location than any meth.

Sloven disagreed, finding sufficient evidence to hold Barney to answer on charges of possessing a controlled substance, possessing a controlled substance for sale, possession of a controlled substance with a firearm and possessing drug paraphernalia, as well as the gun enhancement, in the April case; possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia in the Nov. 3 case; and possession of a controlled substance and being an unlicensed driver in the Nov. 16 case.

Barney is set for formal arraignment on April 27.

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

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