Meth cases head to district court

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By Tris DeRoma

Separate suspects involved in separate meth busts will be appearing in district court soon, after Magistrate Judge Pat Casados ruled last week the cases should go to district court.
Known as “probable cause” hearings, the hearings are designed to determine if there’s probable cause enough to have their cases tried in district court. If no cause is found, the charges are dropped.
The suspects that were tried last week were Daniel Hoth, Rowena MacDonald and Alan Houle.
Casados also ruled that suspects Hoth and MacDonald will be tried together, as they were allegedly connected through an alleged drug dealer named Barry Simmons, from Albuquerque, who allegedly came to White Rock to do a meth deal. Hoth was allegedly the driver for the dealer and MacDonald allegedly aided Simmons by letting him stash the remainder of his drugs at her house at 76 Isleta Court.
While Hoth and Simmons were trying to find a buyer for some crystal meth last November, Simmons had some stored at MacDonald’s house.
During the magistrate court hearing, the attorneys representing Hoth and MacDonald, Joachim Biagi Marjon and Kari T. Morrissey, tried to separate the two into individual cases, arguing they didn’t really know each other, and that MacDonald didn’t really know what was in the dealer’s backpack when Simmons asked her to hold it for him.
Morrissey tried to argue that tthe stash of crystal meth was found inside her house, she wasn’t actively involved in the deal itself.
“...They don’t have any evidence that my client exercised control over any drugs at all. What they have is that she was aware that Mr. Simmons had drugs in her house. What you haven’t even heard, is that when Mr. Simmons left, she was aware that the drugs had been left at her house. There’s no testimony or evidence to suggest that she knew she left them there. He left a backpack there, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t taking the drugs with him to conduct some type of transaction that she had nothing to do with,” Morrissey said to the court.
As for Hoth, Marjon tried to argue that the police were casting too large a net. “My client is facing nine years just because he was in the proximity of a drug deal,” he told the court.
But in the end, Casados disagreed with the defense, and the two will now have their case tried in district court.
Hoth will be tried for conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and trafficking in a controlled substance.
Trafficking in a controlled substance is classified as a second-degree felony. For all of the charges, Hoth faces a maximum nine years in prison if convicted. MacDonald will be tried for drug possession.
Houle too will be going to district court to face the charge of trafficking in a controlled substance. Houle was arrested in October of last year after police gained evidence through a confidential informant that he was dealing drugs.