Feds take over suspects held in local drug bust | TheUnion.com

Feds take over suspects held in local drug bust

Eric Michael Southard, Alfonso Corrales and Hillario Carranza – all arrested on multiple drug charges at a local drug bust last month – have been taken into custody by federal marshals, Nevada County District Attorney Cliff Newell said Tuesday.

All three will appear at the U.S. District Court in Sacramento on July 31, district court staff said.

The federal court took over the case “because of the magnitude of the controlled substances these guys were removing,” Newell said. “When we find someone selling (such a high volume of drugs), we’ll often refer the case to the U.S. Attorney to prosecute the case federally, because the sanctions are greater in federal court than in state court.”

Southard, 49, will appear in court for a preliminary hearing at 2 p.m. July 31, according to the U.S. District Court in Sacramento. He is charged with trying to distribute and possessing more than 50 grams and 500 grams of methamphetamine and being a felon in possession of a firearm, court records show.

Carranaza, 40, and Corrales, 24, are both being charged with possessing more than 50 gms and 500 gms of meth for the purpose of distribution. Carranza will be arraigned and Corrales will have a preliminary hearing at 2 p.m. July 31 at the U.S. District Court in Sacramento.

“Because they are out-of-area people and because of the volume of drugs they were transporting, the federal charges will be much more severe than local charges,” Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal said.

The district attorney’s office and the U.S. Attorney’s office mutually decides when a case is transferred to federal court, Newell said.

Southard, Corrales and Carranza were arrested mid-June in a drug bust at Southard’s residence on the 10000 block of Bitney Springs Road.

Officers confiscated two pounds of meth, a quarter pound of cocaine, one pound of processed marijuana kef, $48,000 in cash, two rifles, a pump shotgun, ammunition and scales for weighing drugs, according to authorities.

Judge Ersel Edwards of the Nevada County Superior Court had set the bail amounts for all three suspects at $100,000 each, last month.

To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail ssen@theunion.com or call 477-4229.

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