A Labette County judge on Tuesday ordered a Parsons man to stand trial for distributing methamphetamine.

Robert C. Martinez, 38, 1910 Morton, is charged in Labette County District Court with distributing methamphetamine, a level one drug felony. If convicted he could face a minimum of 11 1/2 years in prison.

A preliminary hearing took place Jan. 24, after which Judge Jeffry L. Jack ordered Martinez to stand trial on the charges. There was a question of the weight of the meth. As the weight of drugs found goes up, the seriousness of the crime follows. Martinez was originally charged with a level two drug felony.

Labette County Attorney Stephen Jones asked to reopen the preliminary hearing on Tuesday to introduce evidence of the weight of the meth.

A level one drug felony alleges possession of 100 grams or more of meth, or 3.5 ounces. Martinez is alleged to have possessed more than nine ounces.

In January, Parsons Police Officer Joel Franklin testified that he received a call late Oct. 7, 2018, about a truck sitting in the street in the 2000 block of Morton blocking traffic. He and officer Jordan Tomlinson investigated.

Franklin recognized Martinez from previous encounters. Martinez was standing outside the truck with the door open. When he saw law enforcement arrive, he turned off the truck’s headlights and shut the truck door and locked it.

Franklin asked Martinez what he was doing and Martinez said he was delivering a security door for his late aunt’s house. He picked up a door leaning beside the truck and walked it up to the porch and Franklin followed.

Franklin spoke to the dispatcher, who reported that there was a possible Cherokee County warrant out for Martinez. Martinez was detained, and the area around the truck and house were searched by Franklin. Franklin said Martinez kept moving and acting like he was reaching for something on his person and was told by officer Tomlinson to stand still. A search revealed a belted pouch under Martinez’ clothing with a bulge in it. Inside the zipped pouch officers found a baggie with a crystalline substance. Franklin returned the baggie to the pouch and zipped it shut.

The warrant was confirmed and Martinez was arrested and taken to jail.

A K-9 hit on the truck, indicating the presence of drugs. The truck’s owner, James Yeoman, was contacted and consented to a search. Inside, officers found a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun in the center console and a green backpack on the passenger’s seat. Inside the backpack they found another bag containing a scale, two metal spoons, syringes and a torch. Two of the syringes contained a liquid substance.

Two other bags containing a crystalline substance were in the backpack.

In addition to the more than 9 ounces of meth, officers found $475 cash on Martinez during a search.

After the hearing, Martinez’s attorney at the time argued that because both large bags were not tested on scene, officers could not state all of the substances were meth and the officers could not certify weight. 

Jones wanted to reopen the preliminary hearing because he had certified weights back from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation lab in Pittsburg, which showed more than 9 ounces of meth.

Adamson accepted the report for the purpose of Tuesday’s hearing and Jack ordered Martinez to stand trial on the more serious felony. 

Arraignment will be Aug. 12. Martinez remains jailed.

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