California man sentenced in I-80 traffic stop

    Sentencing was held Monday morning for a 37-year-old California man who was arrested following the seizure of Marijuana in Dawson County.  Dawson County District Judge Jim Doyle ordered Alberto Villa-Flores to serve 40 months of probation and also 90 days of jail at the beginning of his probation.  He was given credit for 8 days already served.

    The case stemmed from a Nebraska State Patrol investigation on June 22, 2021.  A trooper observed an eastbound vehicle exit Interstate 80 at the Darr interchange or mile marker 231.   Signs were displayed on the Interstate indicating that there was a State Patrol checkpoint ahead and a K-9 in use.  The trooper then observed the vehicle go over the overpass and then made a left turn heading westbound on Interstate 80.   The vehicle pulled into a convenience store parking lot in Cozad.  The trooper initiated a conversation with the driver.  A drug dog was deployed indicating an odor of drugs coming from the vehicle.    

    A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed 162.5 pounds of Marijuana located in suitcases and duffel bags inside the vehicle.  The driver, Alberto Villa-Flores was arrested and charged with Distribution of Marijuana.  Villa-Flores later pled guilty to an amended charge of Attempted Distribution of Marijuana.

    At Villa-Flores’ sentencing Monday in Dawson County District Court, Defense Attorney Carlos Monzon said Villa-Flores had recently completed CDL school and plans to take the driving test next month.   Monzon said he also had a driver’s job waiting for him.  Monzon offered several other mitigating circumstances including what he said was his client’s admission and that it appeared to him to have been a “single instance of abhorrent behavior”.  He said that while his client knew he had illegal cargo, he wasn’t told the nature of it.  He described him as a hard worker, always taking care of his family and no prior criminal record.

    Judge Jim Doyle denied  a motion to defer judgment.  He said he considered that the street value of the Marijuana seized was about a half-million dollars.  But, also considered Villa-Flores’ ‘generally law-abiding life” and that probation would help stabilize some issues in his life.

Source: Nebraska Regional News

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