Wednesday, December 28, 2005/lk
News staff writer
December 14, 2005
A Mid-Valley family has been stopped from selling “snow” during the holiday season.
The Mid-Columbia Interagency Narcotics Taskforce (MINT) seized a sizeable cache of cocaine and methamphetamine from a Fir Mountain residence on Saturday.
Livier Navarro, 29, was arrested at the scene for trafficking in illegal drugs. Her husband, Rosario Gordian Cruz, 30, has been in jail since Sept. 30. He was allegedly caught in an undercover MINT sting with his father, Ascencio Solis Gordian, 56.
On Dec. 10, Cruz’s mother, Maria Cruz Palacios, 50, joined her family members behind bars. She was arrested at the couple’s Thomsen Road residence during the same investigation that led MINT to Navarro.
“Even though we had already caught the two men, their wives apparently just kept the family business going,” said Hood River County Sheriff Joe Wampler.
The three children of Navarro and Cruz – a newborn, a 3-year-old, and an 11-year-old – have been taken into protective custody by the Department of Human Services. According to reports, the oldest boy was aware of drug activity in the family home.
“If it weren’t for us intervening, these kids would have had a ‘white’ Christmas in more ways than one,” said a MINT spokesperson.
Wampler said a total of 13 ounces in coke and meth was seized during the search of Navarro’s home. He said the drugs would sell on the street for between $40-$50 per gram. That would have brought the Gordian/Cruz family a net gain of about $17,192.
“In the dope world this is real pure stuff; this isn’t junk we’re dealing with,” said a MINT member while weighing and packaging the evidence.
He said the high-grade meth was most likely manufactured in the “super labs” of California or Mexico. And once the supply was diluted down with acetone or baking soda it would bring an even greater monetary return.
Wampler said the arrests of Navarro and Gordian followed a traffic stop earlier on Saturday morning. Deputy Matt English pulled Edgar Munoz Haro, 25, of Hood River over at the intersection of Rand Road and May Street for erratic driving. He was then advised by dispatchers that Haro, who was on probation for a prior drug conviction, was operating the vehicle with a suspended license.
At that point, English was granted permission by Haro to search the car. He discovered both meth and drug paraphernalia hidden inside.
Haro’s probation officer then gave MINT members permission, as allowed by the court, to search the residence that he shared with Navarro and Cruz. And that was where MINT recovered the larger stash of narcotics.
“This is just an unacceptable practice for anyone, but even more for a family with young children,” said Wampler. “If it were up to us all four adults would be spending Christmas in jail.”