Attorney Expects Indictment of Alleged Drug Ring Member
The attorney for Richard West, Jr. says he is preparing for a trial. West was arrested, along with seven other current and former employees of Jones-West Ford, following FBI and DEA raids of six properties, April 28-29.
The attorney for Richard West, Jr. says he is preparing for a trial. West was arrested, along with seven other current and former employees of Jones-West Ford, following FBI and DEA raids of six properties, April 28-29. The U.S. Attorney's Office says the group conspired with Dr. Robert Rand to distribute drugs including oxycodone. U.S. Magistrate Judge Valerie Cooke denied bail for West, April 29. His attorney, David Houston, plans to appeal. He argues that West is not a flight risk and does not present a risk to the community.
"The individual who actually presents as a person who has been here his entire life, his family is here, he has absolutely zero criminal history, should be released pending trial," Houston said.
West is scheduled to be in federal court, May 11, for a preliminary hearing.
"In all honesty, that's never going to happen," Houston said. "We will receive notice there has been an indictment."
Houston says the a grand jury will likely indict West, based only on the prosecution's arguments, without the defense being present. In a preliminary hearing, the defense can also present its arguments. Houston says the indictment will likely come down before the preliminary hearing. If that happens, a date will be set for West's arraignment.
"We will go to that," Houston said. "We will plead not guilty and we will receive a trial date."
Assistant U.S. Attorney James Keller says West was prescribed as many as 800 pills per day, saying each pill could be sold for $30, up to $45 at colleges. Federal agents found 61 firearms at West's house, which his attorney says are legal and irrelevant to this case. Houston says his client's role in the alleged drug ring has been exaggerated by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
"There has been a great deal of misinformation and speculation essentially pumped into this community, as far as Mr. West's involvement and what this case is about," Houston said. "The quote 'number of pills Mr. West would have been responsible for', the values then associated as though all of those are sold on a black market. What we do know is the numbers in reference to Mr. West are wildly exaggerated."
West was arrested with Robert Gene Rand, Omar Ahsan Ahmad, Joshua Ross Green, Clint Mitchell Bloodworth, Kathleen Griffin, Alan Russel Martinez, Braden Kyle Riley, and Ryan Daniel Smith.
Rand and West are the only ones still in custody. The other seven were released, Friday. Each defendant has his or her own attorney, and Houston says the high amount of people makes the case even more challenging.
"We're going to have different ideas and different approaches and it's helpful when all of the lawyers can work together to establish at least where we can join defense agreements or concurrent defenses," Houston said.
Rand is awaiting his court appearance, Friday, in San Francisco. If the judge decides to release him, he will return to Reno for a preliminary hearing. If he is detained, he will be transferred to the Washoe County Jail by the U.S. Marshals Service. Rand's attorney, John Arrascada, says a transfer would likely delay any court proceedings.
Rand's Reno doctor's office was searched by the FBI and DEA, the same day he was arrested. He faces four counts, including one that says his illegitimate prescription led to the death of a man. He says his client is doing well, but is anxious because of his current situation.
Channel 2 News contacted Jones-West Ford, hoping to hear from owner Richard West, Sr. about this case. So far, we have not heard back. The dealership is open for business. It is still unknown if the other defendants have returned to work.