The Ely Times 

A multi-jurisdictional effort with law enforcement officers resulted in multiple arrests last Thursday.   

The Nevada Department of Corrections Office of the Inspector General, Nevada Department of Public Safety, Investigative Division (NDI), Eastern Nevada Narcotic Task Force (ENNTF) , White Pine County Sheriff’s Office and Nevada Highway Patrol conducted a joint operation which lead to the arrest of three people for conspiring to smuggle approximately 5 ounces of methamphetamine into the Ely Conservation Camp, with the intent for inmates to then smuggle the drugs into the Ely State Prison (ESP).

Institutional investigators and an NDOC investigator for the Inspector General’s Office conducted an internal Ely State Prison investigation, which lead to the Las Vegas area. 

Working with NDOC investigators, detectives with the Nevada Division of Investigations conducted surveillance operations, tracking the subjects from the Las Vegas area to the Ely area on March 5.

 At about 2:30 pm, March 5, 19-year-old Stephanie Pineda, 21-year-old Nayade Figuerdo-Serpa, and a 17-year-old juvenile arrived in Ely. A Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper located the vehicle on US 93 near the Ely Conservation Camp. The vehicle was stopped by NHP and the White Pine County Sheriff’s Office based on an NDI search warrant.

As a result of the investigation, approximately 4.67 ounces (132 grams) of methamphetamine was recovered. Pineda and Figuerdo-Serpa were taken into custody by NDI/ENNTF detectives and booked into the White Pine County Jail for Trafficking a Controlled Substance, methamphetamine, Attempt Furnishing Controlled Substance to a State Prisoner and one count of

Transporting a Controlled Substance. Both are being held on a $500,000 bail. The 17-year-old juvenile was taken into custody and transported to the Elko Juvenile Detention Center. 

District Attorney Mike Wheable explains that through the years, the District Attorney’s  office has seen many attempts to introduce contraband into the two prison facilities in White Pine County. 

“Less than 2 percent of the inmates at both of these facilities are imprisoned on charges arising out of White Pine County, yet it is our burden to deal with consequences of housing the State’s most dangerous and organized criminals. The trafficking of high levels of narcotics through our community is one of those consequences.” Wheable said.  

The difference in this particular case is the age of the suspects, 21, 19 and 17. The charge of high level drug trafficking carries a potential life sentence for adult offenders.  Wheable said, “However, in deciding what justice requires in each particular case, we take many factors into consideration including for example, the lack of a criminal history, the age of the offender, and motive. As this case develops and these facts come to light, our office will seek justice accordingly.”