It’s been just more than half a year since multiple law enforcement agencies arrested dozens of people suspected of participating in a methamphetamine and weapons trafficking ring in Klamath County. More than 300 law enforcement officers, ranging from Homeland Security, ATF, FBI, state, county and local police participated in the overnight raids.
But for many of the suspects, the knocks at their door May 15 were just the start of a long and complex ordeal.
Trojan Horse arraignments – Other suspects arrested from Operation Trojan Horse wait as Dennis Headley is arraigned on charges of racketeering and unlawful delivery of methamphetamine at the Klamath County Jail
Eleven of the roughly 49 suspects netted in Operation Trojan Horse are still in custody at the Klamath County Jail, waiting for adjudication. Thirteen Trojan Horse cases have been resolved and four suspects are still sought. The remaining suspects awaiting adjudication have been released on their own recognizance and are required to make mandatory court appearances.
Making it to trial
Many of the trials for Operation Trojan Horse suspects were set for Nov. 19. However, court records show that many of the cases are being continued past that date and into January, February and March.
That’s making a frustrating ordeal even longer for some families.
Patricia Bell, mother of suspect Jeffrey Bell, said her son has only been able to see his attorney twice during his six months of detainment. Since his arrest, she’s been forced to move and hold a family together on her social security income.
While others have been released back into the community, she’s had to handle the chores Jeffrey would otherwise have helped with.
“It’s just crazy,” Patricia said. “I’m disabled, on oxygen 24/7 and I have arthritis.”
“All these people get arrested for methamphetamine, go to jail and get out,” Patricia Bell said of other cases. “It’s just becoming ridiculous that they’re postponing it.”
“These guys can’t even get their bail reduced,” said Linda Barrows, who is dating suspect Rodney Georgia. “They can’t do anything at home for their families.”
She cited bail reductions as one of her frustrations. Many suspects’ initial bail was set at $1 million then reduced to $500,000. Barrows doesn’t see the point in the reduction since she was unable to afford either.
Barrows also points to a report of another man, James Gonzalez, as highlighting the inequities in pre-trial holds. Gonzalez was found to be in possession of 11 pounds of methamphetamine after committing a moving violation on Highway 97 in June.
When Gonzalez was booked into the Klamath County Jail, his bail was initially set at $75,000. He was released on his own recognizance and allowed to travel out of the state Aug. 27.
During the initial service of search warrants in Trojan Horse, four pounds of methamphetamine were seized.
Deputy Attorney General Mary Williams said prosecuting offices can’t comment on open cases but said, generally, bail is agreed upon by individual judges and prosecutors.
“Part of the consideration is resources for the courts and their capacities to move through the cases,” Williams said via telephone.
She said the schedule for the Trojan Horse trials is being solidified. Each trial will likely take a week with a new trial starting every two weeks.
Overview of the larger cases:
Lee Joseph Hartsfield, 20, was the first man convicted for racketeering. Saying he wanted to “climb the ladder” during his plea change hearing in July, the man sought to connect with Jose Bueneventura Vinals, 51, to purchase methamphetamine.
Hartsfield was sentenced to 24 months of prison, 36 months of post-prison supervison, and ordered to pay a $140 fine.
Three others suspects admitted their guilt for racketeering charges. John William Hubkey, 50, Tonya Lynn Hubkey, 23, and Julie Lynn Ficken, 35, have been convicted and sentenced.
Hubkey entered his guilty plea Oct. 15. In exchange, he was dismissed of a second count of racketeering, two counts of delivery of methamphetamine and one count of possession of methamphetamine. His sentence was not yet listed on court records.
Lynn Hubkey entered her guilty plea Oct. 9. She was sentenced to 42 days of jail,
36 months of probation, and ordered to pay a $140 fine.
Ficken was dismissed of one count of racketeering and convicted of a second, receiving
40 days of jail, 60 months of probation and a $140 fine on Oct. 8. Four counts of delivery methamphetamine were dismissed.
Another man arrested after the initial raid in May, Margarito Flores Vasquez, 29, was dismissed of racketeering charges July 29.
Victor Jose Madrigal, 29, entered a no contest plea Sept. 24 to a charge of delivery of methamphetamine and was sentenced to 30 days of jail,
24 months of probation and ordered to pay a $940 fine. Two additional counts of delivery of methamphetamine were dropped.
Three other individuals pleaded guilty to charges of possessing methamphetamine: Sara Beth Dannacker, 33, Richard William Schriber, Jr., 34, and Nicholas Paul Wofford, 21. Dannacker’s sentence was discharged, meaning she received no further punishment for her crime. Schriber received 10 days of jail and 18 months of probation; Wofford received 30 days of prison and 12 months of post-prison supervision.