An alleged drug dealer and three women believed to be working as lookouts for his operation face Jan. 23 trials.
Agents with the Tri-City Metro Drug Task Force reportedly had been watching Jorge Hernandez-Gonzalez for at least seven months when they searched his Pasco motel room on Nov. 15 and found guns and bags of drugs, court documents said.
Two of the women were observed repeatedly going in and out of the room, likely checking for law enforcement to protect the narcotics and suspects, and the third woman was living at the Thunderbird Motel with Hernandez-Gonzalez, according to the documents.
Hernandez-Gonzalez, 56, of Pasco pleaded innocent in Franklin County Superior Court to possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver and two counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
Candida Maria Suarez, 22, of Kennewick; and Gabriela Perez Cruz, 21, and Rosalia Dejesus Gonzalez, 31, both of Pasco, entered innocent pleas each to one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver.
Court documents show Metro Drug Task Force agents worked with a confidential informant April 17 to buy meth from Hernandez-Gonzalez in Pasco.
The confidential informant was searched before the transaction to make sure they had no drugs, money or contraband, then was given "prerecorded buy funds" to attempt to purchase meth. The informant reportedly knew the dealer as "Cuban" or "Cuba," and connected that nickname to a picture of Hernandez-Gonzalez as shown by police, documents said.
Agents kept the informant under surveillance during the transaction, when Hernandez-Gonzalez allegedly sold a white crystal substance that tested positive for meth.
A search warrant was served Nov. 15 at the 414 W. Columbia St. motel room where Hernandez-Gonzalez had been living, and investigators found a .45-caliber pistol and a .25-caliber pistol under the bed, court documents said. Hernandez-Gonzalez is a convicted felon with a previous burglary charge and is not allowed to own or possess a firearm.
During the search, agents also seized a bag containing eight individually packaged bundles of meth and a baggie with a large ball of brown tar heroin, documents said. Each bindle reportedly held about one ounce of meth, and the heroin weighed one-quarter of a pound, documents said.
While watching the motel room before the search, officers noticed Suarez and Gonzalez acting as lookouts for a "drug trafficking organization," according to the court documents. The agents observed them "in and out of the room in question, exiting to look around, then re-entering the residence and making other contacts," documents said.
Suarez also is a convicted felon who is not supposed to be around guns.
Agents said Cruz was residing in that room at the time of the search.
The women were charged for the drugs that allegedly were found inside.
All four suspects remain in custody in the Franklin County jail on different bail amounts. Hernandez-Gonzalez also has a hold by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.