Law enforcement found 11 pounds of marijuana in a Parsons home in January 2018 and a half-pound about three months before that in a different home tied to the same person.
Preliminary hearings took place Wednesday in Labette County District Court for Raymond A. Rigazio, born in 1995. He’s lived in Parsons for a time but absconded while free on bond and was arrested in California.
In the first case, Rigazio was ordered tried for possession with intent to distribute marijuana and criminal possession of a firearm by a felon, both felonies. Another count of criminal threat was dismissed because the alleged victim was not available.
Erie Police Officer Brett Ross testified that he was working for Parsons Police Department on Sept. 20, 2017, and responded to a domestic situation at 1430 Appleton, Apt. A. Ross joined Erie Police on July 19.
When he arrived on Appleton, he noticed on the ground by porch steps what appeared to be a shattered glass jar and a large quantity of marijuana around it. Ross collected the marijuana on the ground, found more marijuana in the apartment on a silver baking dish and a .40-caliber Smith and Wesson pistol. Ross testified that he combined the outside marijuana with the marijuana found inside and placed it in the same evidence bag. The marijuana weighed 230.73 grams, or more than a half of a pound.
Rigazio had left the apartment when police were responding and the alleged victim of the threat made statements to Ross that could not be used at Wednesday’s hearing because she wasn’t available as a witness. But she gave officers a direction of travel for Rigazio and Cpl. Robert Queen traveled that way and found Rigazio a few blocks away.
Rigazio told Queen he left before the argument became physical with his former girlfriend. He also told police that the gun found wasn’t his, nor was the marijuana on the sidewalk. He claimed the marijuana on the baking dish was his, police testified. He also said his girlfriend was in the process of moving out.
In the second case, Rigazio was ordered tried for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and criminal possession of a firearm, both felonies. The distribution charge is a level two felony with a significant prison penalty upon conviction.
At the preliminary hearing, sheriff’s Detective Shannon Vail testified about a deputy pulling Rigazio’s trash at 1:20 a.m. Jan. 2, 2018, at 1318 S. 26th in Parsons. By late morning, the detective and Parsons police officers were serving a search warrant on the property.
Inside, deputies and officers found 11.14 pounds of marijuana packaged or stored in a variety of ways, from Mason jars to vacuum-sealed food saver bags. Officers also found a loaded .40-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun, numerous rounds of ammunition, digital scales and a Fed-Ex box with a label addressed to Rigazio. He also testified to finding other documents with Rigazio’s name.
Rigazio bonded out in February 2018 and a motion to revoke his bond for failure to report to bond supervision was filed in July 2018.
The U.S. Marshal Service arrested Rigazio in San Francisco, and he was returned to Labette County on April 17. He remains jailed until his next court hearing on Oct. 7.
His attorney, Robert Myers, asked Judge Fred W. Johnson to reconsider reinstating his client’s bond. Rigazio had been held without bond. Johnson placed bonds totaling $150,000 on Rigazio.
In other cases:
— Dustin W.O. Sims, 41, Pittsburg, appeared in court on a warrant from Tulare County, California, for a probation revocation action. His bond was set at $100,000 in California, where Sims was on probation for one or more property charges filed in December 2018. He’s charged with felony theft in Labette County for allegedly stealing a pickup from his mother on March 8. He will return to court on the local case on Oct. 7.
— Richard T. Mendoza, 33, Parsons, pleaded no contest to possession of methamphetamine and received a prison term of 14 months. Judge Fred W. Johnson suspended the prison term and placed Mendoza on probation for a year as required by Kansas Sentencing Guidelines. The judge noted that Mendoza failed to appear for assessments that would grade the chance of him reoffending and his amenability to treatment. Johnson told Mendoza he thought he was a poor candidate for probation and asked Mendoza to prove him wrong. The judge also asked Mendoza to make probation his priority. Mendoza received credit for 100 days served in jail.
— Ethan C. Carson, born in 1997, Grove, Oklahoma, pleaded to two counts of aggravated battery on Wednesday. He will return to court on Nov. 15 for sentencing. He was charged with aggravated kidnapping, three counts of aggravated domestic battery, one count of child endangerment and one count of aggravated assault.