New charges in on-again big pot case

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Olvera-Landaverde jailed, now faces 2 new counts

By Lisa King

A man who was charged with the largest marijuana bust ever in Shelby County and mysteriously set free by federal authorities is now back behind bars.

Enrique Olvera-Landaverde, 51, who was re-indicted by a Shelby County Grand Jury on April 18 for trafficking in marijuana over 5 pounds, was arrested at his home in Southville last week.

That’s the same residence that was raided in April 2010 by sheriff’s deputies, who found 800 pounds of marijuana and $63,000 in cash but did not find Olvera-Landaverde, who had fled to Texas.

Early last Friday morning, sheriff’s deputies returned to 738 Southville Pike, armed with an indictment warrant and once again looking for Olvera-Landaverde.

They apprehended him without incident, and in addition to the charge from the indictment, he also has been charged with possession of a handgun by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

These two charges stem from two weapons officers found in the home, Shelby County Sheriff Mike Armstrong said.

Armstrong said he did not know what that prior charge was.

 “I assume he was convicted somewhere else in this country for some type of felony,” he said.

Olvera-Landaverde previously lived on Preston Highway in Louisville, and he had a driver’s license issued there in December 2011.

He is listed as being a citizen.

The Louisville Metro Police Department declined to comment on whether he has a criminal record in Jefferson County.

Olvera-Landaverde’s attorney, Stephen Pence of Louisville, is out of the country and was not available for comment, but his wife, Ruth Ann Cox Pence, who is also an attorney with the Pence and Ogburn law office in Louisville, said she did not know what kind of a felony Olvera-Landaverde has incurred.

“I’m unaware that he had a prior conviction,” she said.

The deputy who made out the arrest report, Kyle Tipton, wrote that when Olvera-Landaverde answered the door, there were two long rifles sitting on the fireplace mantle and one of them was loaded.

Olvera-Landaverde asked deputies to get his shoes out of the bedroom and when they entered that room, they discovered a pistol in plain view on a nightstand. That handgun also was loaded, and the hammer was pulled back, Tipton said.

The arrest report did not say that Olvera-Landaverde resisted arrest.

After fleeing to Texas in 2010, Olvera-Landaverde was arrested April 1, 2011, by the U.S. Border Patrol in the small southern Texas town of La Feria, about 25 miles from the Mexican border.

Shelby County deputies and a member of the department’s drug task force drove to Texas and brought him back to Shelby County to face charges of trafficking in marijuana of more than 5 pounds, a Class C felony punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison.

Shelby County Commonwealth Attorney Laura Donnell had turned the case over to the federal courts at that time because she thought federal authorities would be better able to prosecute him, especially because often, federal penalties can be more severe than state charges.

Olvera-Landaverde was set to go to trial Nov. 21 of last year when U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves ordered the case dismissed and directed United States marshals to release him.

Donnell said she was never given a reason by federal authorities of why they released.

Federal court officials declined to comment on why they dismissed the case, and in response to that question by The Sentinel-Newssent only a copy of the court proceeding at which Reeves ordered the case dismissed and the marshals to let Olvera-Landaverde go.

Donnell had the case brought back again in Shelby County, because she did not want to let it go, she said. The case under the new indictment is being headed up by KSP investigators, who have not returned calls from The Sentinel-News.

Olvera-Landaverde is being held at the Shelby County Detention Center under a $115,000 cash bond. He is set for arraignment at 8:30 a.m. Monday in Shelby Circuit Court.