Endangered children found at another UNET drug bust

For the second time in two weeks, Child Protective Services
removed children from their home after undercover agents arrested
their father for allegedly dealing drugs.
For the second time in two weeks, Child Protective Services removed children from their home after undercover agents arrested their father for allegedly dealing drugs.

The three youths, ranging in age from 2 to 7 years, were taken into protective custody pending additional investigation of their living conditions, officials with the Unified Narcotic Enforcement Team said.

The youths were reportedly playing within 15 feet of their father, John Espinoza Jr., 43, while he was allegedly in the middle of a drug sale, UNET Commander Bob Cooke said in a written statement.

Espinoza’s Nov. 15 arrest in front of his home at 440 Bridgevale Road marked the culmination of a two-month undercover investigation.

At about 3:45 p.m. Friday, UNET agents, with help from county deputies and a Hollister Police detective, went to Espinoza’s home to serve a search warrant. As they approached the home, agents saw Espinoza in the middle of what appeared to be the sale of a small amount of methamphetamine to Honorio Quezada, 42, of Hollister, Cooke said.

When Espinoza and Quezada saw the agents walking toward them, they tried to hide their drugs under a pair of nearby cars, Cooke said.

In a search, drug agents seized more than 15 grams of methamphetamine from Espinoza.

While agents continued to go over the scene and care for Espinoza’s children, Timothy Orbuena, 38, of Hollister drove up to the house. He was questioned by agents and subsequently arrested on suspicion of possession of a gram of cocaine, being under the influence of a controlled substance and driving with a suspended license, Cooke said.

Espinoza was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment, possession of methamphetamine and marijuana with intent to sell, possession of an illegal weapon and being under the influence of a controlled substance, according to jail records.

Quezada was arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to jail records.

A search of Espinoza’s home reportedly turned up a scale, an ounce of marijuana, a police scanner and two sets of night-vision goggles.

A grandparent who arrived at the scene asked if he could take temporary custody of the children, but was reportedly under the influence of alcohol and deemed unfit at the time to do so, so CPS took custody of the youths.

Cooke said UNET called in CPS just a week before to remove children from a home on Suiter Street when their father was allegedly selling drugs out of the home.

Leave your comments