One of three Columbus residents accused of trafficking in heroin in Delaware County pleaded guilty Monday to two of the charges brought against him.
Tomas Martinez-Lopez, 20, entered a plea of guilty Monday in Delaware County Common Pleas Court to two counts of trafficking in drugs, a fourth-degree felony and a second-degree felony. Martinez-Lopez is the second of the trio to change his plea to guilty in the case.
He was originally scheduled to stand trial Tuesday. A sentencing date of Sept. 14 was scheduled Monday.
Judge Everett Krueger ordered a pre-sentence investigation and said Martinez-Lopez could face between six months and 18 months for one charge and between two years and eight years for the second charge.
Claudia Santos-Hernandez, 28, changed her plea last month and also pleaded guilty to two counts of trafficking in drugs, which are third-degree felonies. A sentencing date for Santos-Hernandez is scheduled for Aug. 17.
As part of a plea deal, both county Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brian Walter and Santos-Hernandez’ attorney, Thomas Waldeck, recommended that Krueger sentence Santos-Hernandez to 18 months in prison.
The other man in the case, Anselmo Magallanez-Robles, 26, is scheduled for a change of plea hearing on Aug. 19.
Magallanez-Robles faces a charge of trafficking in drugs, which is a first-degree felony; a charge of possession of drugs, a first-degree felony; four counts of trafficking in drugs, fourth-degree felonies; and a charge of trafficking in drugs, a second-degree felony. Originally Martinez-Lopez and Santos-Hernandez faced the same charges but the charges were reduced as part of deals with prosecutors.
All three defendants were still in the Delaware County Jail Monday afternoon.
Walter said the trio was arrested April 22 when Delaware County Drug Task Force units and Dublin police executed a search warrant at an address on Valley Ridge in Columbus. Walter said none of them are U.S. citizens and do not have Social Security numbers.
Walter added that investigators spoke to Magallanez-Robles on several occasions to arrange drug deals and said that Magallanez-Robles appeared at one of the transactions. Martinez-Lopez was reportedly at the other four drug deals. Walter said investigators were able to purchase more than 150 balloons of heroin — close to eight grams — during one of the drug deals.
The deals occurred in a parking lot adjacent to the Best Buy store at Polaris in Delaware County, prosecutors said.
During the search of the Valley Ridge residence, Dublin police said they seized more than 155 grams of heroin and more than $7,000 in cash. Walter added that when Santos-Hernandez was arrested, her arms were covered in baby oil, which Walter said is part of a process that drug traffickers use to help package heroin.
Dublin police reported they also discovered packing materials used to distribute heroin in a hidden compartment in the kitchen of the apartment. Dublin police noted in their report that Magallanez-Robles attempted to break a cellphone and swallowed a balloon containing heroin before he was arrested.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.
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