General Crime

Marijuana Smuggling Suspects Plead No Contest To Drug Trafficking Charges In Redwood City

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Five suspects accused of hauling more than 5,000 pounds of marijuana off of a boat that came from Mexico and arrived in Pescadero earlier this month pleaded no contest to drug trafficking charges Wednesday, San Mateo County prosecutors said today.

A total of nine people were arrested in the Aug. 1 bust, when two large vans went to Año Nuevo State Park in Pescadero and met a panga boat that had landed there carrying 5,148 pounds of marijuana at about 10:15 p.m., according to the district attorney’s office.

Agents with the San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force stopped the vans as they left the beach with the marijuana and arrested the suspects, prosecutors said. The panga boat was later found unmanned and drifting and was recovered by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Arrested were Luis Farid Gonzalez, 20, Juan Hernandez, 39, Juan Valdez Lopez, 50, Luis Espinoza Mendoza, 28, Estaban Flores Salazar, 39, Joan Sicairos, 19, Mark Richard Teixeira, 38, Phin Yo Vorn, 33, and Mario Gonzalez, 36.

Five defendants who entered not guilty pleas last week changed their pleas Wednesday to no contest to felony importing marijuana in exchange for a one year sentence in county jail, prosecutors said.

Luis Farid Gonzalez, Mendoza, Salazar, Sicairos and Teixeira were sentenced by Judge Mark Forcum to the yearlong sentence and three years of supervised probation, prosecutors said.

The rest of the defendants have a preliminary hearing scheduled for this morning and remain in custody under $1 million bail, prosecutors said.

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