Distribution hearings scheduled

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— A scheduling error delayed a status conference Friday in Moffat County Court for a 28-year-old Hispanic man accused of distributing narcotics.

Edgar Pena-Villava is charged with two counts of distribution of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell or distribute and conspiracy to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance.

He also faces two sentence enhancers - direct conspiracy of selling or distributing a controlled substance and committing the alleged offenses which "constituted a substantial source of the defendant's income and in which the defendant manifested a special skill or expertise," according to the criminal complaint.

He was one of 11 suspects the All Crimes Enforcement Team arrested March 25 in Craig on suspicion of operating one of the largest organized drug trafficking operations in Northwest Colorado. Charges against two of the suspects were dismissed because of lack of evidence.

Pena-Villava's hearing has been continued to 11 a.m. Wednesday in County Court. Public Defender Sheryl Uhlmann is representing him.

The suspects, most or all of whom are Mexican nationals and believed to be in the U.S. illegally, are being held at the Moffat County Jail and have immigration holds.

Immigration holds were lifted earlier this month for the two men - Randalfo Valenzuela-Lopez, 23, and Heriberto Chavez-Hernandez, 21 - who had the charges dismissed, and they were released from custody, according to jail records.

Dave Smith, a special agent with the Immigration and Naturalization Services office in Craig, had no comment.

Seven of the suspects are being held on $250,000 bond. Marco-Contreras Alcala, 31, is being held on $500,000 bond and Pena-Villava on $1 million bond.

Preliminary hearings for the eight other suspects are scheduled for 1 and 2 p.m. Friday, in county court. All nine suspects have different attorneys, according to court records.

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