WOODSTOCK – A judge in Shenandoah County on Monday dismissed local gun and drug charges against a non-U.S. citizen now in federal custody.
Eduardo Contreras-Devora stood charged in the Shenandoah County Circuit Court on single counts of possession of a firearm by an “unlawful alien,” possession of a gun while accused of having more than 1 pound of marijuana with the intent to distribute, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, and possession of more than 1 pound of marijuana with the intent to distribute.
Contreras-Devora did not appear in the court as scheduled. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Strecky told Judge Kevin Black that the defendant is being held in federal custody at the Central Virginia Regional Jail in Orange. Attorney Gregory Tasker has represented Contreras-Devora on the local charges.
Black granted Strecky’s motion and dismissed the charges against Contreras-Devora.
A federal indictment handed up by a grand jury in early March names Contreras-Devora as one of more than a dozen people accused of playing a role in a drug-distribution ring traced to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, a Mexican-based criminal organization accused of controlling a significant portion of narcotics trafficking in Mexico. The organization transported cocaine, heroin and marijuana into the United States by recruiting people from Mexico to live in Axton, Virginia, and Winchester from where they would distribute drugs, the indictment claims.
The federal indictment also charges Contreras-Devora with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. The indictment identifies the firearm as a Taurus .380-caliber handgun.
State police arrested Contreras Devora, 22, of 247 Camp Branch Drive, Martinsville, Virginia, on July 19 after twice citing the man for driving without a license. The second time trooper Cody Mumaw stopped Contreras-Devora driving a silver Dodge Charger on Interstate 81. The officer pulled over the driver because the vehicle window tint did not comply with state regulations, according to charging documents.
The trooper smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, opened the trunk and found plastic tubs filled with individual packages containing green plant material, each weighing approximately a pound. The trooper also found a pistol in a black bag stored in the glove compartment, according to the charging documents. Contreras-Devora did not have a permit to carry a firearm, the trooper noted, nor did Contreras-Devora have proof of U.S. citizenship, the court documents say.