Gilberto Reyes has been in the county jail for 13 months without getting his day in court — and that has led some to question whether he is getting his constitutional right to a speedy trial.
Now, the district attorney says his office is trying to find a way to resolve this case earlier than the trial scheduled for late February.
Reyes, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, was charged on Dec. 22, 2007, with distribution of drugs. On that morning, he was driving a truck full of furniture when it rolled over on Interstate 25 north of Las Vegas. He and a woman were taken to the local hospital.
Afterward, state police said they found 425 packages of marijuana, amounting to more than 400 pounds. Reyes has denied he knew about the existence of the drugs, saying he was hired by someone else to transport the furniture.
Reyes, a former professional baseball player for the Montreal Expos, among other teams, hasn’t been able to make his bail, which is now at $5,000.
“I have been trying to see if we can work out a deal so as to give defendant Reyes credit for the time that he has already served and allow his release,” District Attorney Richard Flores said in a statement this week. “I’m doing what I can to expedite this matter.”
He said that he is talking with federal immigration attorneys to see if he could enter into an agreement in which the suspect would plead guilty but not be deported from the United States. He noted that even if Reyes posted bond, federal immigration authorities would continue to detain him.
He said the defense attorney is saying that the only deal that Reyes will take is dismissing the case altogether.
“There is no way, in good conscience, that I can do this, especially since the amount of narcotics exceeded 400 pounds of marijuana…,” Flores said in the statement.
The district attorney also said the facts of the case don’t back Reyes’ assertion that he didn’t know the drugs were in the truck. He said Reyes told officers that he was taking the truck to Colorado but that he didn’t know the name of the recipient of the furniture.
Flores said suspects often say that they don’t know drugs are in their cars.
“Ninety percent of the time, the facts flush out that the defendant knew about the drugs and they were traveling on what we know is a major drug thoroughfare — from southern New Mexico or Juarez, Mexico to Denver, Colorado,” Flores said in the statement.
As for the constitutional right to a speedy trial, Flores said, “The law allows the defendant, through his attorney, to raise legal arguments such as speedy trial arguments. Again, this is something I can’t control and my job (in a matter like this) is not to advocate for the defendant — that is his attorney’s duty.”
Reyes’ attorney, Ben Mondragon, didn’t return a call for comment, as has been the case with previous stories over the last few months.
In an interview in the jail in November, Reyes told the Optic that it’s obvious he didn’t know about the drugs because he waited for officers to respond to the accident. A person transporting drugs would have fled, he said.
Reyes, who has become popular in the jail, said he’s been in the country for a quarter century and hadn’t had any brushes with the law before.
“The only things I have done is play ball and take care of my family,” he said.