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Robinson BIA Police nab three in drug bust

By Staff reports Updated: 11/23/2011 The Record Bee

 NICE - Three people were arrested by Robinson Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Police and Lake County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) deputies at the Robinson Rancheria Resort and Casino on Nov. 16.
At approximately 10 a.m., LCSO deputies Lyle Thomas and Carla Hocket were patrolling in the area of Nice and Upper Lake. The deputies observed a man and woman in the area of East Highway 20 and the casino.
Both subjects were acting suspiciously and were known to the deputies as having criminal contacts in their past. As the deputies returned to contact the two people, both subjects separated and entered the casino. A third person was also in the area and was a person of interest for the deputies.
BIA-commissioned Police Sergeant John Irwin was on duty at the time on the Robinson Rancheria Pomo Indian Reservation and was contacted by the deputies. The officers then searched the casino.
Cynthia Downing, 35, of Nice was located in the rear of the casino by Irwin. Downing was found to have an outstanding federal warrant issued for her arrest by the magistrate judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California stemming from a 2010 narcotics possession and trafficking investigation that took place on the Robinson Reservation and was conducted by the Robinson Police Department.
Downing was taken into custody by Irwin without incident. A search of Downing's purse allegedly revealed a number of prescription pills. In addition, Downing reportedly displayed outward signs of being under the influence of a central nervous system stimulant.
Shortly after Downing's arrest, one of the two men was located and contacted by the officers inside the casino.
Michael Santos, 30, of Lakeport was contacted by Thomas and Irwin. Santos also reportedly displayed signs of being under the influence of drugs and admitted to the officers that he was currently on probation. After a field interview and drug influence examination, Santos was taken into custody without incident for suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance.
A search of Santos' backpack by Irwin allegedly revealed a usable amount of marijuana along with assorted items of drug paraphernalia.
The second man was contacted by Thomas approximately 20 minutes later while inside the casino. Aaron Zavala, 26, of Upper Lake was located in the front lobby of the casino and taken into custody on a felony warrant.
Both Downing and Santos face federal charges of possession of a controlled substance. Downing also faces charges for the outstanding warrant.
In addition, reports are being forwarded to the Lake County District Attorney's Office by the Robinson Police Department for review on state charges against both Downing and Santos for the misdemeanor violations of being under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and violation of probation.



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