Comments Off on APD traffic stop leads to meth bust; woman released due to jail overcrowding arrested again hours later

A routine traffic stop in Arcata on Sunday night led to a large methamphetamine bust and, ultimately, to a woman being arrested twice in a five-hour period.

An Arcata Police Department officer spotted a black 1994 Toyota Corolla with expired registration tags headed northbound on U.S. Highway 101 near Giuntoli Lane at about 7 p.m. Sunday and pulled the car over. During the traffic stop, the officer found one of the Corolla’s passengers — Derlyn Riley, 28, of Blue Lake — was on probation and another — 26-year-old Aaron Riley of Fortuna — was on active parole and searched them both.

Officers reported finding an ounce of methamphetamine packaged for sale on Aaron Riley and drug paraphernalia on Derlyn Riley, prompting the arrest of both, according to APD Sgt. Todd Dokweiler, who said he didn’t know if the Rileys are related. The Corolla’s driver, Eureka’s 36-year-old Tommy Horton, was cited and released for driving on a suspended license.

The Rileys were booked into the Humboldt County jail at about 8:30 p.m., according to Sheriff’s Office Lt. Steve Knight. Derlyn Riley was released about an hour and 15 minutes later on her own recognizance because the crime she was booked on suspicion of — possession of drug paraphernalia — was a nonviolent misdemeanor.

A few hours later, at about 11:30 p.m., Arcata police officers were conducting a follow-up investigation at Arcata’s Motel 6 when they saw Derlyn Riley leaving a hotel room with a bag of methamphetamine in her hand, according to Dokweiler. Officers took the woman into custody again, and searched the room, finding more paraphernalia, a couple grams more of methamphetamine and Horton, Dokweiler said.

Horton and Derlyn Riley were arrested and booked into the Humboldt County jail on suspicion of possession of paraphernalia and methamphetamine at about 1:10 a.m. Monday, according to Knight. Derlyn Riley was released less than two and a half hours later, according to Knight, due to jail overcrowding.

Sheriff’s office Lt. Dean Flint said crowding is an issue with some inmate populations, most notably females.

The jail’s maximum female inmate capacity is 55 out of 391 beds, Flint said.

”For many years there, we thought we’d really overbuilt female beds,” he said.

But for reasons Flint said he couldn’t identify, more and more women have been getting arrested in Humboldt County over the last year and overcrowding has become a large issue. On Sunday night, Flint said, the jail had 64 female inmates, meaning nine were staying on temporary cots and some fresh arrestees — like Derlyn Riley — were turned away at the door, released on their own recognizance.

Flint said the jail is also currently holding more maximum security and special needs inmates than it was built to accommodate, meaning some maximum security inmates are being housed in medical beds usually reserved for sick inmates or integrated into the general population.

In Derlyn Riley’s case, Flint said she was released in accordance with a booking matrix the sheriff’s office uses to determine who stays in custody and who’s released. The matrix — which was used in the 1980s and 1990s and reintroduced this year after the state decided parole violators and low-level offenders would be held in jails, not state prisons — essentially weighs the jail’s population numbers and provides cutoff points at which jail staff stops admitting arrestees.

”It says that if the count reaches X, we stop accepting nonviolent misdemeanors,” Flint explained. “And, if the count goes up to another target number, we stop accepting misdemeanors period and stop accepting some nonviolent felonies.”

When the population gets really high, the matrix dictates that some inmates are released a few days before the termination of their sentence.

In Derlyn Riley’s case, the matrix meant she was out on the streets after being arrested twice in a five-hour period for drug offenses and violating her probation. Because the matrix is inmate population specific, Horton and Aaron Riley remain behind bars, as the male general inmate population isn’t overcrowded.

Dokweiler said it’s not uncommon for officers to arrest someone for a low-level offense only to see them back on the streets several hours later.

”It’s a bit more uncommon that you would arrest someone again that day for a similar type of offense though,” he said.


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