Gang Member Released, Ordered to Show at Hearing
February 7, 2008
WHEELING — Before he was released on his own recognizance from the Northern Regional Jail on Wednesday, a suspected member of a Chicago gang looked back at his daughter with tears in his eyes.
“I love you,” Raphael Lima said to the young girl, who was visibly shaken as well.
Minutes later, his detention hearing in federal court in Wheeling commenced, as U.S. Federal Magistrate James Seibert heard testimony from witnesses called by the prosecution and the defense.
The Wednesday hearing was held to determine whether local law enforcement could detain Lima after he was arrested in Moundsville on Saturday, when officers found $10,000 of cocaine in his possession. Lima was arraigned before a federal magistrate Monday afternoon on one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.
Although no drug transaction took place, members of the Ohio Valley Drug Task Force said they received a tip that Lima was coming to the area from Chicago to sell the drugs.
Marshall County Sheriff’s Deputy Zack Allman, who is also a member of the task force and made the arrest, testified to those claims Wednesday, when Assistant U.S. Prosecuting Attorney John Parr called him to the stand.
In that testimony, Allman told the magistrate an informant tipped the drug task force off to the situation and stated Lima was a member of the Latin Kings, a gang known for narcotics dealing. Allman also said Lima admitted to being a gang member.
Parr told the magistrate his concerns about Lima are that is he a danger to society, as he has been arrested for crimes numerous times but never convicted of anything. He also was concerned because Lima’s brother is facing murder charges in Chicago and the Latin Kings gang is allegedly connected to the crime.
Defense attorney Brendan Leary did not call a witness, but instead asked the magistrate to allow Lima to be released from the Northern Regional Jail, where he has been held without bond since Saturday.
The magistrate disagreed with that statement, saying that given Lima’s past run-ins with the law, he believed Lima could hurt somebody.
Seibert said by law, he must release Lima from custody and hand him over to Chicago authorities, but he had some stern words for the defendant as he issued his order.
“In the past, with your criminal history, you have been playing junior high ball,” he said. “Now, you are in the big leagues. You have an arraignment here Feb. 20. You’ll be in jail faster than you can turn your head if you violate the terms of this order.”
Lima has been released from the Northern Regional Jail, but his case in federal court will proceed, as the magistrate scheduled an arraignment hearing for 2 p.m. Feb.20 and ordered Lima to be present.
Lima also was ordered by Seibert to contact pre-trial officials in Chicago. Lima remained free today on his own recognizance.