Major drug bust nets five suspects
A major narcotics bust in Penn Valley Wednesday morning netted a large cache of alleged drugs, cash and five suspects, one of whom may allegedly be the largest seller of cocaine and ecstasy to area youths.
Lt. Bill Evans said the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team and narcotics officers raided a home on Spenceville Road near Ready Springs School. They allegedly found “a significant amount of suspected cocaine, ecstasy, some marijuana, scales and packages,” consistent with a drug sales operation.
The home was raided with a search warrant “after a lengthy investigation,” Evans said. The raid netted two ounces of cocaine, about 20 ecstasy pills and 105 small bindles of marijuana and hashish, all worth almost $17,000 in street value.
• Mayo Hudec, 24, of Penn Valley, the main suspect, on suspicion of possession of cocaine and ecstasy for sale. He was still incarcerated late Wednesday on a bail of $35,000. Narcotics officers targeted him as possibly the biggest ecstasy and cocaine dealer in the area for youth.
• Stephanie Wilson, 18, of Penn Valley, Hudec’s reported girlfriend, arrested on the same charges and still incarcerated late Wednesday with the same bail.
• Michael Neely, 18, of Nevada City, on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine. He was still incarcerated late Wednesday on $10,000 bail.
• Shawn Defranco, 26, of Penn Valley, on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released on his own recognizance, a standard practice for misdemeanor arrests.
• A 16-year-old juvenile from Grass Valley for resisting or obstructing an officer during his duties and possession of cigarettes. He was released to his mother. Three others at the home were not arrested.
According to an undercover narcotics officer at the scene, “We got lots of phone calls from parents and kids about ecstasy in the area, and everything pointed to here.”
Officers also found almost $4,000, “All in $1s, $5s and $10s, lunch money,” ostensibly from area students, the undercover officer said. The Union is not publishing the officer’s name to protect his identity.
“Our intelligence told us he usually had a couple hundred ecstasy pills” at any given time, the officer said. But only about 20 suspected ecstasy pills were found at the one-story, nondescript ranch home, indicating to officers that Hudec may have made a major sale in the last few days.
The officer also said a van found at the home may have been advertising the drug trade. In big block letters on a painting across the back of the van, the word “Thizznpeace” can be seen, the officer said. Thizz is slang for ecstasy use.
“Their organization is based on the use and sale of ecstasy,” the officer said. Officials suspect the drug group was selling ecstasy to Nevada Union High School students and other county youths.
Responding officers said a motion sensor was set up in the home’s driveway and rigged to set off a chime in Hudec and Wilson’s bedroom, where police found the contraband. No one was hurt in the arrest.
Undersheriff John Trauner said the home was about three-tenths of a mile from Ready Springs School. If the home’s property line is within 1,000 feet of the school grounds, a conviction could carry an extra five years sentencing enhancement, Trauner said. He said officers will have to use a tape measure to find out if the alleged crimes were done within the 1,000 feet.
The undercover officer and Evans said the Swat Team was used for the raid because Hudec had a history of firearms arrests, including one by the Grass Valley Police in December for having a loaded gun on him during a traffic stop. No guns were found at the crime scene, but two firearms registered to the suspect were believed to be at another address, the undercover officer said.
A plastic child’s gun and a starter’s pistol were found at the scene and may have been used to intimidate people, Evans said.
To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4237.
Ecstasy is a synthetic drug popularized at large parties called raves in Sacramento and other cities. The drug contains chemicals that are hallucinogenic and similar to methamphetamine, meaning those who use it feel euphoric, energetic and could experience distortions in their perception of time.
Information from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
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