Missouri man arrested for meth trafficking pleads not guilty in Scott County court

By Benjamin Cox on February 5, 2019 at 12:06pm

A man arrested for methamphetamine has entered a plea of not guilty to trafficking and possession.

32 year old Rolando Reyes-Espinoza, of Raymore, Missouri, appeared in Scott County court Monday in the custody of the Scott County Sheriff’s Department. Reyes-Espinoza was a passenger in a vehicle on Interstate 72 that was investigated on January 2nd of this year.

It has been previously reported that the driver of that vehicle, 26 year old Brett Marler-Norton, of Sedalia, Missouri, switched seats with a female in the passenger seat while the vehicle was moving, causing the car to swerve off of the road. Marler-Norton has since been charged with alleged possession of methamphetamine between 15 and 100 grams, as well as methamphetamine trafficking. The same charges are being sought against Reyes-Espinoza. In the vehicle, law enforcement officers reportedly found 56 grams of methamphetamine.

The female was never identified, and formal charges were never filed or mentioned.

Scott County State’s Attorney Michael Hill details Reyes-Espinoza’s hearing Monday.

“Monday afternoon, Mr. Rolando Reyes-Espinoza appeared in court for a preliminary hearing. Defense counsel for Reyes-Espinoza, Mr. John Coonrod, requested a preliminary hearing, so one was held. An officer took the stand and provided testimony, and the court then found that there was probable cause to proceed with charges against Mr. Reyes-Espinoza. Therefore, he was remanded back into the custody of the Scott County Sheriff’s Department, though I believe he is being lodged in Greene County. Mr. Espinoza has the benefit of a public defender and an interpreter as well.”

State’s Attorney Hill explains what the arresting police officer testified in court Monday.

“When the officer approached the vehicle, he reportedly noticed the smell of an alcoholic beverage. Upon questioning one of the occupants, it was disclosed that there was a small quantity of drugs somewhere in the vehicle. Upon further investigation, officers were able to retrieve 2 ounces of methamphetamine in the physical possession of Brett Marler-Norton, who then testified that they were bringing the meth to a location in this area from the Kansas City area. Marler-Norton also reportedly testified that Reyes-Espinoza had given him the methamphetamine to transport.”

Reyes-Espinoza pled not guilty and requested a trial by jury. Pre-trial will be held on Tuesday, March 12th at 1:30 p.m. The jury trial will begin Monday, April 1st at 11 a.m.

Marler-Norton was also due in Scott County court yesterday, but he did not appear. An attorney appeared in Marler-Norton’s place, being Defense Attorney David Leefers, who filed to remove Bethany Doolin as defense counsel, filed a not-guilty plea for Marler-Norton and requested a continuance.