Preliminary hearing reset for four allegedly involved with prostitution scheme

The preliminary hearings for three of the four individuals allegedly involved in a prostitution scheme in Colusa County were continued on Thursday afternoon, and reset for 8:30 AM, Oct. 11.

The continuance came at the request of Colusa County Deputy District Attorney Brendan Farrell, who said that his office needs more time to analyze electronic evidence that had only recently been returned from a lab in Sacramento.

“We are requesting a continuance,” Farrell told Judge S. William Abel, who took a brief break from retirement to fill in for Jeffrey A. Thompson on Thursday. “Just today, we received all of the information from the electronic devices from Sacramento.”

Farrell said that he anticipated combing through the evidence would be “an intensive and lengthy process.”

Representing Joseph Ethan Ayala, Adan Ayala, Jr., and Cathy Irene Mendoza, defense attorneys Jesse Santana and Grady Davis agreed to continue to waive time and to reset the preliminary hearing to the later date.

Santana said that he had also been discussing a possible settlement with the District Attorney’s Office for the clients represented by his firm, Joseph Ayala and Adan Ayala, Jr., and that he “anticipated that this could be resolved” by the date of the next hearing.

Both Santana and Davis requested that their respective clients – Adan Ayala, Jr. and Mendoza – be granted 977 Waivers, which will allow their legal counsel to appear in their behalf during their rescheduled hearing, explaining that they are each gainfully employed and needed to be at work. Both were previously released on their own recognizance, and Abel granted the requested waivers. Joseph Ayala remains in custody.

The three defendants – along with Eurik Rivas, who has already reached a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office – were arrested on July 5, each on suspicion of felony charges of pimping, pandering, conspiracy, and misdemeanor criminal street gang activity. The Colusa County District Attorney’s Office did not pursue any gang enhancements for any of the defendants, but did charge each of the four suspects with pimping, pandering by encouraging, and two counts of conspiracy, all felonies. Rivas pleaded to a single count of prostitution under California Penal Code Section 647(b), was given credit for time served in the Colusa County Jail, and was sentenced to summary probation with conditions, Farrell said.

The arrests of the four defendants arose from a string of coordinated search warrants in Colusa County and Yuba City on July 25, during which Colusa County Task Fore agents and other law enforcement agencies seized over 10 pounds of marijuana, prescription medication, ammunition, three firearms, and numerous electronic devices, the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office said at the time. 

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net