Judge denies bond to man held on drug, gun charges

Authorities claim a non-U.S. citizen carried a gun and a large amount of marijuana in Shenandoah County earlier this month.

Eduardo Contreras Devora remains held without bond at the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail. Authorities charged Contreras Devora, 22, of 247 Camp Branch Drive, Martinsville, Virginia, with possession of a firearm by an unlawful alien, possession of a firearm while accused of possessing more than one pound of marijuana with the intent to distribute, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, possession of more than five pounds of marijuana with the intent to distribute, driving without a license, driving without a license as a second or subsequent offense, speeding and operating a vehicle with unauthorized window tinting.

Contreras Devora appeared with his attorney Gregory Casker for a hearing in Shenandoah County General District Court Friday. Casker asked Judge Amy Tisinger to grant his client’s release on bond citing a lack of prior criminal convictions.

Contreras Devora came to the United States at 2 years old and he has lived in Virginia most of his life, Casker said. The defendant lives and works in the Henry County area and he and his fiancé have a child together, Casker noted. Contreras Devora is in the country through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Casker told the judge.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Mandy Strecky asked the judge to deny the defense motion and argued that not only does a presumption against bond exist with at least one of the charges, but Contreras Devora has no connection to Shenandoah County and he poses a flight risk.

Tisinger sided with the prosecutor and denied Casker’s motion for bond, citing the reasons Strecky raised. The judge noted that Contreras Devora had no prior criminal history. However, Tisinger pointed out that Contreras Devora, according to the criminal complaint, failed to obey the arresting officer and drove a second time without a license.

Tisinger scheduled Contreras Devora’s next court appearance for Aug. 21.

Virginia state police Trooper Cody Mumaw wrote in a criminal complaint that he operated a radar at the Exit 278 crossover on Interstate 81 on July 19. The trooper states he observed a silver Dodge Charger traveling northbound at 80 mph in the left lane at approximately 8:30 a.m. The trooper pulled the vehicle over and identified the driver as Contreras Devora, the complaint states. Contreras Devora told the trooper he did not have a driver’s license. The trooper issued three court summonses to Contreras Devora and the vehicle was towed off the interstate.

Mumaw goes on to state in the complaint that, while operating radar at the Exit 284 crossover later that morning, he saw the same Dodge Charger traveling north on the interstate at approximately 9:40 a.m. The trooper pulled over the vehicle again, issuing a traffic stop because the car’s window tint did not comply with state regulations.

Mumaw placed Contreras Devora under arrest for driving without a valid operator’s license. The trooper states that while he conducted an inventory search of the car prior to storing the vehicle he could smell a strong odor of marijuana. Mumaw states that he opened the trunk of the vehicle to find two blue plastic tubs. In one tub, Mumaw states, he found 11 packages of a green plant material wrapped in plastic. The other tub contained nine packages of green plant material, the complaint states. The trooper estimated that each package weighed about one pound. The trooper discovered a Taurus pistol concealed in a black bag in the glove compartment, the complaint states. Contreras Devora does not have a permit to carry a concealed firearm, the trooper notes.

The complaint indicates that Contreras Devora had no proof of U.S. citizenship.

A checklist used by the magistrate to determine if the arrested individual should receive bail indicates that Contreras Devora lives in Martinsville and has no ties to the Shenandoah County area. The checklist also indicates Contreras Devora has no criminal history. The magistrate notes that the trooper believes the Mexican consular card used to identify the accused is a fake but could not be certain. The magistrate required that Contreras Devora be held without bail at the regional jail pending a judge’s decision.