Two East County men have pleaded not guilty to charges that allege they participated in 10 commercial burglaries resulting in a loss of at least $130,000 to local businesses.
Both men were arrested Jan. 31 in Lakeside and Spring Valley and they were arraigned Feb. 4 in El Cajon Superior Court.
A preliminary hearing for Andrew Robert Myers and Adam Matthew Nuno, both 34, will be set this week.
The names of the burglarized businesses have not been released, but it is part of an ongoing investigation by the sheriff’s department into 30 break-ins going back to 2016.
The men are also accused of operating a clandestine marijuana growing operation and a butane honey oil extraction laboratory that was discovered on Jan. 31 in East County.
Nuno and his wife, Suzanne Gonzalez Nuno, 35, were also arrested on four counts of child endangerment. She has also denied the charges.
Nuno and his wife have been released on bond, but Myers remains in the George Bailey Detention Facility on $300,000 bail.
Men sentenced for accessory to shooting
A judge sentenced two men to prison Feb. 5 for being an accessory after the fact in a 2017 shooting in El Cajon that seriously injured an acquaintance.
Jaquis Marquon Holiday, 20, received four years and Andre Antonio Turner, 22, got five years and four months which include time for a parole violation of an older felony assault conviction.
A third co-defendant, Dashawn Keon Griffin, 21, was earlier sentenced to nine years and eight months after he pleaded guilty to felony assault in the gang related shooting that occurred Nov. 11, 2017.
The victim was shot in the abdomen and leg while in his vehicle around 9:30 p.m. in the 1500 block of East Washington in El Cajon.
Holiday and Turner stood trial for attempted murder, but the jury deadlocked and El Cajon Superior Court Judge Patricia Cookson declared a mistrial. They later pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and the attempted murder charge was dismissed.
Holiday, who was also known under the nickname “Moo Moo,” and Turner, whose nickname was “Lil Smoke,” received more than a year in jail credits.
Special circumstances allow five witnesses to testify
Five people who were injured while being smuggled into the U.S. testified Feb. 7 in the triple murder case against the alleged driver in the incident in which three people were killed in a crash in Boulevard.
Because the five witnesses were passengers in the truck driven by Luis Alberto Virgen, 21, they might not be available to testify later, so they were called as part of a conditional exam in El Cajon Superior Court.
Virgen is charged with three counts of second-degree murder, three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter and seven counts of reckless driving causing injury.
Deputy District Attorney Clayton Carr said the defendant had a right to confront and cross examine witnesses against him. He said having a conditional exam ensures his right to have his attorney question the witnesses who may not be available at the June 3 preliminary hearing.
Virgen refused to pull over after Border Patrol agents attempted to stop his vehicle after it got onto Interstate 8 from Buckman Springs Road.
Virgen was weaving in and out of traffic at speeds up to 100 mph at times with the Border Patrol following. A spike strip was placed on the road and his truck drove over it while it was raining.
The vehicle overturned, ejecting all 10 people east of Crestwood Road on a dirt and rock embankment.
Erika Gonzalez-Cardoso, 38, was killed from multiple blunt force injuries. Two men, ages 34 and 22, were also killed, but their names have not been released.
Carr said Virgen is charged with murder because he acted with conscious disregard for life.
Virgen has pleaded not guilty and remains in jail on $3 million bail.