A 25-year-old Wisconsin man was sentenced Tuesday in District Court to 60 days in the Churchill County Jail for transporting more than 23 pounds of marijuana.
Abimael Roman Espinoza of Racine received a suspended prison sentence of 19-48 months, although Judge Tom Stockard ordered Espinoza to serve 60 days. Once released from jail, Espinoza will be allowed to serve his five-year probation period in Wisconsin.
The North Central Narcotics Task Force arrested Espinoza and co-defendant Guadalupe Ronzon, 20, of Milwaukee in April.
According to court documents, the couple was driving east from Reno on Interstate 80 when they were pulled over in their blue Honda Ridgeline for speeding. The task force reported stated Espinoza was driving 82 mph in a 75 mph zone.
According to records, an investigator detected an odor of grease coming from the vehicle. Espinoza reportedly gave authorities permission to search the vehicle.
The K-9 unit discovered a black trash bag under the bed of the vehicle with 19 bundles of marijuana. The two said they were in California to visit Ronzon’s cousin.
In court, District Attorney Art Mallory said a prison sentence was deserved, as it appeared Espinoza was part of a “business enterprise.”
Espinoza’s attorney, Jacob Sommer, though, said his client was not part of some nefarious plot. Sommer said his client admitted to making a “stupid decision,” but that his client could be properly supervised in Wisconsin.
Espinoza pleaded guilty in May to one count of conspiracy to commit a felony crime under the Uniform Controlled Substance Act.
In other court news —
Robert Logan Berry entered an Alford plea Tuesday to one count of attempt to commit robbery and one count of habitual criminal with three prior felonies.
According to Chief Deputy District Attorney Lane Mills, Berry entered the Fox Peak convenience store on June 24 and attempted to rob the store. Mills said Berry placed a bag in the counter with one hand in his pocket and told the clerk to give him the money or he would die.
The act was caught on the surveillance camera.
The habitual criminal charge, meanwhile, stems from 16 prior felony convictions including nine burglary, five theft and one escaping from custody convictions. Fifteen of the 16 convictions were in Minnesota and one in Iowa.
According to the plea agreement, Berry faces one to 10 years in prison for the attempted robbery count, and life in prison with no parole, life in prison with the possibility of parole after 10 years or a definite term of 25 years with the possibility of parole after 10 years for the habitual criminal charge.
Stephen Charles Cheek pleaded not guilty to nine felony charges including eight grand larceny counts.
Cheek is accused of entering David Barkley’s residence on Nov. 20, 2012, and stealing eight guns. Cheek is charged with burglary with possession of a firearm and eight counts of grand larceny of firearm.
His trial is scheduled for April 7-11, 2014.