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4 in Coke Seizure Expected to Plead Guilty

August 16, 1986|RAY PEREZ | Times Staff Writer

Three of seven South Americans charged in California's biggest cocaine seizure were released from jail Friday, and defense attorneys said the remaining four suspects will probably plead guilty to conspiracy to sell the drug.

Superior Court Judge John J. Ryan released the three, all Colombian citizens, on their own recognizance but ordered them to return to court on Sept. 5 for a hearing on motions to suppress evidence against all the suspects.

However, the cadre of defense attorneys predicted that charges will probably be dropped against Fabio Ardila Dimate, 41; Florinda Suarez Prada, 25, and Onelia Rita Arboleda, 24, and that the four remaining suspects in custody will probably plead guilty.

Juan Perez Sanchez, 29, of Ecuador; Clara Rubia Perez, 22, Venezuela, and Uldarico Cabuya, 34, and Gonzalo Ruiz, 29, both of Colombia, remain in the Orange County Jail on $4 million bail each.

10 Arrested in Raids

The seven suspects were among 10 South Americans arrested on April 4 in raids at five locations in Anaheim, Placentia and Fullerton. Police narcotics agents that night confiscated 1,784 pounds of cocaine with a street value of $500 million and $730,000 in cash.

The raids came after Los Angeles narcotics agents received a tip about an alleged cocaine smuggling ring in Orange County and placed two of the defendants under surveillance.

At a preliminary hearing three weeks after the raids, charges against three of those arrested were dropped.

Another defense attorney, Stephan A. DeSales, said a tentative plea bargain has been reached with the district attorney's office. However, he said the defense will continue to challenge the legality of the search warrants issued for the raids, which the defense says were were improperly prepared. Only if that legal maneuver fails at the Sept. 5 hearing, DeSales said, will the four defendants agree to the plea bargain.

Trial for the seven suspects is set for Sept. 15, but Deputy Dist. Atty. James Brooks and the seven defense attorneys indicated that the case will probably be settled Sept. 5.

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