Man in Drug House but Argues Not Target of Warrant – Judge Sets Bail, and Trial

By S. Priana Aquino

ALAMEDA, CA – Darwin Lopez appeared in Alameda County Superior Court for an arraignment hearing Friday, and his lawyer recounted for the judge the events leading up to his client’s arrest, arguing Lopez should go free pretrial.

During the search of a house named in a search warrant, Lopez was allegedly found standing in the kitchen next to a cutting board with illegal substances.

Arresting officers speculated that Lopez was found in that part of the house specifically to retrieve the items on the cutting board to destroy them, according to the prosecution.

But Lopez’s lawyer argued that the strongest evidence against Lopez was both his presence in that house that day, and the arresting officer’s suspicions.

The defense also made the case that Lopez was not the target of the search—Lopez was not named in the search warrant used by police to enter that home the first place.

Lopez’ counsel argued that his client was situated differently than that of his co-accuseds. He pointed out that Lopez doesn’t have an extensive criminal history, with only one prior felony in 2008.

Because of this, he asked the court to consider releasing him on his own recognizance, without any bail, pretrial.

The district attorney’s office strongly opposed the defense request, pointing out Lopez’s criminal history is broken down on drug sales with bail set at tens of thousands of dollars for these charges.

The DA’s office also stated that Lopez was held on a bail bench warrant after failing to come back to court in early 2020.

While Lopez was not named in the search warrant, the prosecution argued he was still in a house where heroin, fentanyl, meth, cocaine and money were open and obvious.

When police entered the home, individuals were caught flushing drugs, said the prosecution, noting Lopez was still engaged in the same activities as the rest of the people present in the home.

In response, the defense argued that just because Lopez was present in a home where drugs were sold, that didn’t immediately mean he was guilty, noting again Lopez stood very differently situated from others involved in this case.

Despite the defense argument, the judge stated that he had great concerns about Lopez’ involvement. Bail was set at $85,000 and Lopez’s case was set for trial on June 1.

About The Author

S. Priana Aquino is a rising Senior at the University of San Francisco, majoring in Business with minors in Legal Studies and Public Service & Community Engagement. Upon graduation, she hopes to attend law school and continue her work in uplifting and advocating for communities of color.

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