County Court: Search Warrant Conducted In August Reveals Possible Child Abuse And Meth Use

CUSTER COUNTY— A search warrant conducted on August 25, 2019 resulted in the arrest of Carlos Riol who appeared for a preliminary hearing in Custer County Court on Monday, September 9 along with his attorney Christopher Wickham.

Riol, 37 of Broken Bow, appeared in court on charges of alleged distribution of a controlled substance, methamphetamine (class II felony), child abuse (class IIIA felony), possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine (class IV felony) and a habitual criminal enhancement.

The preliminary hearing began with Custer County Attorney Steve Bowers calling Broken Bow Police Officer Shane Fiorelli to the stand to testify on what took place during the search warrant.

Officer Fiorelli informed the court that he had become suspicious that the home Riol was residing after Riol had been found with meth on his person during an arrest for domestic assault in May. Fiorelli said that he had begun to do video surveillance on the property on July 24 to see what he might find and who was visiting the home. Trash pulls were also conducted, where officers found syringes that contained meth as well as small baggies that were associated with the distribution of drugs.

A search warrant was executed on August 12 where officers found four occupants in the home along with five children. Fiorelli noted that as officers began to move up the stairs to the master bedroom, the odor of marijuana was clear as they moved to the upper floor. Inside the master bedroom, officers found methamphetamine, marijuana, scales, torches, and baggies with some drug residue inside the room.

Through more investigation and interviews, it was determined that Riol was residing in the bedroom where the drugs and other items were found. Hair follicles were also tested of the kids that were in the home at the time of the search warrant to see how much they had been exposed to the drugs. Four of the five kids were found to have been exposed to THC and/or meth, with one of those kids being found to have had extremely high exposure to the drugs.

Wickham did ask Fiorelli the weight of the drugs that were found during the search to warrant a charge of distribution. Fiorelli was unable to give an estimate, but did state the drugs were sent to the Nebraska State Patrol for further testing. Fiorelli also told Wickham during court that through interviews he believed that the meth may have been used more for personal use than distribution.

At the end of the preliminary hearing, Bowers stated that he believed through interviews, evidence, and Fiorelli’s testimony, that there was enough evidence to bind the charges over to district court.

Wickham argued that there was not enough evidence for the distribution charge to be bound over as well as the child abuse charge, since there was still confusion on how often the kids were in the home.

Judge Tami Schendt ruled that there was not enough evidence to charge Riol with distribution, but there was enough evidence to bind the charges of child abuse and possession of a controlled substance to Custer County District Court. A bond review was also held were Judge Schendt reduced the bond to 10% of $25,000.

Riol will now appear for arraignment in Custer County District Court on September 19 at 9:30 AM facing charges of alleged child abuse (class IIIA felony), possession of a controlled substance (class IV felony) and a habitual criminal enhancement. With the charge of distribution dismissed, Riol could face the maximum of 65 years in prison.