Editor's note: This story was originally published on April 7, 2018.
WORTHINGTON - Four individuals are in custody after being caught up in burglaries in surrounding counties involving multiple stolen firearms, cash and jewelry and drug possession.
Ray M. Rosales, Jr., 34; Rodrigo N. Esparza, 30; Shania L. Bell, 21, all of Worthington; and Ashley A. Castro, 25, of Lakefield, were arrested Thursday following a search warrant execution at a residence in the 900 block of Seventh Avenue in Worthington.Burglary investigation leads to warrant search
According to the criminal complaint filed Friday in Nobles County District Court, a search warrant was obtained by the Murray County Sheriff’s Department after an investigation led them to believe Rosales was involved in two March 29 burglaries in Murray and Rock counties.
A Murray County resident reported 11 firearms, cash, a spotting scope, coyote pelt with red and black felt, jewelry and other miscellaneous items with a total estimated value of $20,000 stolen from their residence March 29. Some of the firearms were limited production editions that were gold-plated and engraved.
A Rock County resident reported a burglary and stolen silver iPhone 6 and cash that same day. Eyewitnesses identified a suspect matching Rosales’ description, the complaint continues.
The complaint details that six rifle shotguns, ammunition magazines, shotgun shells, coyote pelt with red and black trim, a 14-karat white Morganite diamond ring and two pairs of white gloves - all matching descriptions of stolen items from the Murray County residence - were allegedly discovered in Rosales’ bedroom. Officers also allegedly discovered a silver iPhone 6 and clothing in his bedroom that witnesses detailed him wearing. Officers also found a handwritten list of several firearms with values written next to them.
Another gun reported stolen - a Smith and Wesson Model 17 .22-caliber handgun - was allegedly discovered in Esparza’s bedroom at the residence. In a post-arrest interview, Esparza claimed he was unaware the handgun was stolen. It was allegedly found in his room in a shoebox underneath a pair of shoes.
In addition to the stolen items, officers also discovered drugs in Rosales and Bell’s bedrooms and on Castro - who was a house visitor.
Officers allegedly recovered 4.1 grams of meth, two glass pipes and a black case with meth residue from Rosales’ bedroom.
Officers allegedly discovered baggies with a white residue and multiple pipes that tested positive for meth in Bell’s bedroom while she was not home. During a post-arrest interview, she claimed to have not used drugs in a couple of months and denied the recovered items were hers.
Castro - who was a house guest at the time - allegedly had 1.1 grams of methamphetamine, .6 grams of what was suspected to be marijuana and a glass pipe with meth residue on her person. In a post-arrest interview, Castro said Rosales had asked her that day and about two weeks prior if she wanted to purchase guns.Charges filed
Rosales is facing felony possession of stolen property; felon convicted crime of violence - firearm violation, a felony; felony fifth-degree drug possession, not a small amount; and petty misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. A possession of stolen property conviction (the most serious offense) is punishable up to 20 years imprisonment, a $100,000 fine or both. He has two felony-level, classified violence crime convictions.
Rosales’ bail was set at $100,000 with conditions or $250,000 without.
Castro is facing felony fifth-degree drug possession and petty misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia charges. Her bail was set at $750 with conditions or $15,000 without.
Bell has been charged with gross misdemeanor fifth-degree controlled substance crime and petty misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bail was set at $15,000 without conditions.
Esparza has been charged with felony possession of stolen property. His bail was set at $10,000 with conditions or $30,000 without.
The quartet’s initial appearance has been scheduled for April 17 in Nobles County District Court.