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Two accused drug traffickers busted with 150,000 fentanyl pills during a California traffic stop last month failed to show in court after being released on cashless bail. Those involved with the release should be put in jail until the perpetrators are recaptured.
Defendants Jose Zendejas, 25, and Benito Madrigal, 19 — released on their own recognizance less than 24 hours after their arrests with the large stash of illicit drugs — were scheduled to appear for their arraignments at the Tulare County Courthouse in central California, but both men failed to show.
The judge called for Zendejas and Madrigal — both from Washington state — who were not in court, and the warrant for their arrest continues. Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said he did not expect the defendants to show up. He placed blame on the state’s soft-on-crime attitude and so-called criminal justice reform for a policy that allowed the two alleged drug traffickers to go free with nothing but a promise to come to court.
"I didn't learn about the order until it was far too late," Boudreaux previously told Fox News. "I couldn't believe we had 150,00 fentanyl pills — one of the most dangerous epidemics facing our nation today — with people in custody that we may potentially be able to impact the future of this type of drug trafficking organization… and we let them go." "Although there is a need for a pre-trial release program, to do it covertly in the middle of the night in a very nontransparent matter is extremely dangerous," Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward told Fox News on Thursday outside the courthouse, referring to the court’s initial decision to release the defendants. "What we discovered here was that it was occurring based on a decision without any foundation of the facts of the case. And I think going forward, I think everyone is realizing that’s a mistake and should not continue."
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