Two women pleaded guilty Monday in district court to burglarizing four homes in west Carson City in January and selling heroin to an undercover police officer.
Malia Wong, 27, and Tara Lyn Stowbunenko, 28, each face up to 10 years in prison for burglary and up to six years for selling heroin, in addition to a possible fine of $30,000 each.
Each woman admitted the crimes to Judge James Wilson. As part of a plea bargain, additional charges were dropped. Wong and Stowbunenko had faced seven charges, including three counts of sale of a controlled substance, two counts of burglary, possession of stolen property and uttering a forged instrument, according to court documents.
The women will be sentenced at 9 a.m. May 28.
They had been selling the drug to an undercover Tri-Net Task Force officer. When uniformed officers went to arrest the women, they were invited into the motel room. When the officers asked about items sitting on the bed, one of the women said they’d been stolen from a house they had just burglarized, according to Sheriff Ken Furlong and one of the Tri-Net officers.
“The Tri-Net guys realized this may be a criminal case beyond narcotics,” Furlong said. The task force brought the case to Carson City Sheriff’s Office detectives, who handled the majority of the burglary side of the investigation.
“This brought us to a happy conclusion,” he said.
Drugs are a bigger issue than a few burglaries, Furlong said.
“As in the case of these girls, that drive to use drugs makes everybody a potential victim,” he said. “If you see drug addition inside the family, you will probably see victims elsewhere.”
The women had been knocking on doors in the west Carson City neighborhood, near the Governor’s Mansion, asking for directions that did not make sense, Furlong said.
“People knocking on doors without a legitimate reason is positive identification that something is wrong,” he said. In Carson City, solicitors are permitted but a solicitor without a license should be reported, he said.
“It’s not offensive to make sure they’re permitted,” Furlong said.
The Tri-Net Task Force is made up of investigators from the sheriff’s offices of Douglas County, Carson City, Lyon County, Storey County and the Department of Public Safety’s Investigation Division.