Thursday, September 24, 2020

Three Plead Not Guilty to Drug, Gun Charges

Three area residents pleaded not guilty Sept. 16 to three felony counts, including possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm after former felony conviction and grand larceny, court records show.

Charles A. Ortega Jr., 30, of Sallisaw; LeeAnn Renee Elkins, 33, of Muldrow; and Jose Guerrero, 33, of Roland each face years of imprisonment in the Department of Corrections on each charge, as well as hefty fines.

According to a police report, on Sept. 5, a Sallisaw Police Department lieutenant was working at the police department when a dispatcher told him a Greenwood Police Department officer wanted to talk to him on the phone. The Greenwood officer told the lieutenant the GPD was working on a burglary and that the suspects may be from Sallisaw.

The Greenwood officer described the car the suspects were in, but SPD officers didn’t recognize it. The GPD officer provided the names of C.J. Ortega, LeeAnn Elkins and a juvenile.

The SPD officer knew that Ortega and Elkins both had ties to Sallisaw and had lived there in the past. The GPD officer said the burglary occurred around 11 p.m. 

The Sallisaw police lieutenant had received information in the past week that Ortega wanted to harm law enforcement if they made contact with him. A short time later, the officer went to Ortega’s mother’s residence and spoke with her. The woman told officers that her son was staying at a trailer park west of Sallisaw, so law enforcement went to that location. 

The police found that Ortega and Elkins had been staying there but were also staying at a Sallisaw motel. The officers went to the motel and found Elkins.

The officers heard a clanging sound coming from the room, as if metal, possibly guns, being tossed and striking one another.

Police gave several commands for the person inside the room to come out and finally Elkins came out of the room. She said Ortega had left to go to Walmart with her little sister. When asked again if Ortega was in the room, she said he wasn’t there.

The officers entered the motel room and found no one else inside. They then asked Elkins to come back inside the room and read her the Miranda Warning. The officers told Elkins they were looking for possibly stolen guns and Elkins gave them permission to search the room.

The search uncovered an orange medical marijuana container that had multiple baggies with a white substance inside them. The officers also found a bag with a revolver and a semi-automatic pistol that matched the description of two of the three guns stolen from Greenwood. Elkins was then placed under arrest.

As the officers continued to press Elkins, she admitted that Ortega was hiding in a room a few doors down. Officers made entry into that room and discovered Ortega lying in the floor on the opposite side of the room from the entrance. A female was lying on the floor beside Ortega. 

Ortega was handcuffed without incident. He had several warrants in Sequoyah County for traffic offenses.

More drugs and paraphernalia were discovered in the room Ortega was hiding in. The officers contacted the GPD and an officer there was sent to Sallisaw to interview the suspect.

Ortega’s next court appearance is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 23. Elkins is due in court at 9 a.m. Sept. 30, and Guerrero is to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 30.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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