Fallon judge sentences drug trafficker to 25 years in prison
FALLON – A California man arrested in July with nearly a half-pound of methamphetamine during an undercover sting in a Fallon casino parking lot has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Esteven Romero, 28, must serve at least 10 years in prison before he is eligible for parole on the charge of trafficking a controlled substance. District Court Judge David A. Huff also fined him $5,000 during the sentencing on Tuesday.
Romero and his wife Rosa Valenzuela, 32, allegedly came to Churchill County in July with 204 grams of the drugs placed in a concealed area of his truck, in Romero’s pants and in Valenzuela’s purse.
A confidential informant working with the North Central Narcotics Task Force set up a meeting with the couple in the Bonanza Casino parking lot to buy drugs. The exchange was watched by task force officers who swooped in and arrested the suspects, investigators said.
Deputy District Attorney Lane Mills asked the judge to impose the tougher of two sentencing options for the offense of drug trafficking.
The judge could have sentenced Romero to life in prison with parole eligibility after 10 years or a set term of 25 years.
“He admitted he came to Nevada from California to sell drugs and dealt with a couple living outside of town. This amount of meth is indicative of someone who is selling meth for profit,” Mills said.
“On his little trip to Nevada he would have walked away with $10,241. The average user uses about .1 gram, and Mr. Romero had about 2,000 doses. That’s enough meth to supply every tweaker in Fallon.”
Defense attorney Paul Drakulich argued that a life sentence for selling drugs is intended for those who use violence and weapons during the transactions.
“He has three prior misdemeanor offenses, no history of violence, there’s no indication of a crime syndicate or racketeering. There were no weapons involved and no hint that Mr. Romero is a violent person,” Drakulich said.
Romero’s wife pleaded not guilty in August to charges of trafficking a controlled substance, sales of a controlled substance and conspiracy to violate the controlled substance act. Her trial is set for March 7.