Phillipsville Heroin Bust Results in Conviction Yesterday

Photo taken near Phillipsville

Yesterday, Jose Hernandez Lopez was convicted of possession, transporting, and “using a false compartment” (I didn’t even know that was illegal) to hide 1.5 pounds of heroin. He had been arrested this February near Phillipsville.

According to District Attorney Paul Gallego’s Press Release:

After a 4 day trial and less than half a day’s deliberation, on Wednesday, May 04, 2011, a Humboldt
County jury found Jose Hernandez Lopez, 50, guilty of multiple drug charges involving 1.5 pounds of
heroin with an estimated street value of approximately $70,000. Lopez is an undocumented Mexican
National residing in Los Angeles.

Lopez faces up to 8 years, 8 months in state prison for being found in possession of more than 14.25
grams of heroin for sale, transporting heroin and using a false compartment to store, conceal and
transport the drug. Lopez was also found guilty of providing false information to law enforcement.
A prior drug conviction adds a mandatory 3 years to his sentence, which will be pronounced by
the Honorable Judge W. Bruce Watson on June 1, 2011. After serving his sentence, Lopez faces
deportation to Mexico.

On Feb 1, 2011, Humboldt County Drug Task Force agents were conducting surveillance along the
Avenue of the Giants near Phillipsville and observed Lopez traveling on a dead end road on two
separate occasions. They contacted Lopez and he granted the agents permission to search his vehicle.
Lopez and his three passengers waited while the vehicle was checked by a trained Humboldt County
Drug Task Force K-9 (police dog). After the K-9 alerted on the center console, the agents searched
the vehicle and found a hidden compartment in the console containing 1.5 pounds of black tar heroin.
Lopez admitted to agents that the heroin was his and that he was hired to transport the drugs from Los
Angeles to Humboldt County. He later retracted this statement.

“The evidence showed sophisticated large-scale drug trafficking of the sort which deserves the
fullest application of our law enforcement resources,” noted Deputy District Attorney Maggie
Fleming. “And this case shows how our Drug Task Force can effectively interdict such activity.”



  • I’m curious, Is this an indicator that Heroin is making a “come back”? I know it’s been here all along, it seems like it may be on the increase.

    Now Mr. Lopez will serve time and a new dealer will have to take his place and be a little more savy, but for sure the clientel is expecting their product so it’s not like the problem was solved.

    (Also, Kim, could you use a different image for this story, there is nothing beautiful as this blooming tree that matches the devastation of heroin. I love the photo, but it just doesn’t match the story)


  • That’s funny, I thought that using that beautiful photo was a nice touch. It takes the sting away from a bad story about Phillipsville, and still leaves the town looking good.

    Back to the heroin thing. When a major provider is removed, users have many problems adjusting to a new supply, and an unsure dosage. They don’t feel like they are getting enough affect from the drug, so they use more. They end up using too much, then we get to show up at their door with fire trucks and ambulances. The EMT gives them “Narcan” (Naloxone).

    The opiates, Heroin, causes a dangerous, and life threatening depression of the central nervous system which causes the victim to stop breathing. The Narcan restores the central nervous system and destroys the victims “high”. Usually they don’t appreciate that their life has just been saved, but they are pissed-off that you destroyed their feeling of “well-being”.(Go figur’)

    There is a far more serious heroin problem in this area than people know about. People are dropping like flies, some live and some don’t. With the new HIPAA laws the victims of drug abuse have complete privacy, so the drug problem is easy to keep swept under the rug.

    I don’t know what the solution is, but heroin is becoming a serious problem, and when they do a “heroin bust” many people die following that bust.

    • Hi Ernie, It is funny how we each perceive the world around us. Less, anyone think this story is a PVille problem, we know it is everywhere and every town,city,village..
      I guess you do get to see a side of this that most of us don’t see (and probally don’t really want to)
      I think with the heroin, it goes more unnoticed as the users tend to not be so obiouse (compared to the meth folks that get crazy and we all get to experience that craziness from tome to time.)
      Its all sad as it ruins lives and familes by the thousands every day..
      Thanks for those who reach out and help the less fortunate that have become addicted to these substances.

  • thats a a lot of heroin.

    but in all reality there is most likely 5-10 more guys just like this that got by those officers. just my opinion

  • Story aside- The photo is indeed beautiful! 😉

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