Judge sets bail at $1 million after marijuana seized Wed.
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Hopkins County Sheriff Butch Adams poses with the 20 pounds of marijuana, scales and drug packaging seized Wednesday at a house on County Road 3506.
Staff Photo By Angela Pitts

Oct. 20, 2005 -- A months-long investigation by local narcotics investigators resulted Wednesday in the seizure of 20 pounds of marijuana, two handguns, drug paraphernalia, a classic vehicle and two felony arrests.

Juan Alvarez, 28, of Sulphur Springs was jailed for possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver and felony in possession of a firearm, both felony offenses. 

Alvarez was arraigned before Justice of the Peace Ronny Glossup who set bond at $1 million on the marijuana charge and $20,000 on the firearms possession charge.

Esteban Belisario Garza-Linan, 52, of Mexican who was also found at the residence and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. He was also being held for immigration officials after it was determined he was in violation of his passport and visa regulations.

Several other arrests could be forthcoming as the investigation continues.

Red River Valley Drug Task Force Sgt.-Investigator Matt Hooper led a team of officers from multiple agencies in the investigation and search that began just as the sun was rising Wednesday.

They found two pistols, a set of scales and a total of 20 pounds of marijuana, some bagged in black trash bags, some in a plastic bucket, and some apparently bagged in packages for sale, at various locations throughout the residence, according to another task force investigator. Those items were seized along with a classic car, an Oldsmobile Cutlass with Arkansas plates.

According to Hooper, one individual interviewed in connection with the case indicated that marijuana is currently being sold in Arkansas at a rate of $600 to $650 per pound, which would put the street value of the marijuana seized Wednesday between $12,000 and $13,000.

Officers involved in the seizure were from the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office, the Sheriff’s Posse, and members of the drug task force and the special response team of officers from both the sheriff’s office and Sulphur Springs Police Department.

Alvarez is already slated to appear in court in a felony case. He is one of eight men implicated in connection with the Nov. 9, 2004, beating of Marcus Allen Vaughn (also known as Marcus Wells). The January indictment alleges Alvarez hit then 19-year-old Vaughn in the head with a baseball bat. Steve Simmons of Pittsburg was appointed Alvarez’s attorney in September, taking over for Luis A. Merren Jr., according to court records.  A pretrial hearing is set for Oct. 27, with jury selection on Dec. 5. 

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