From left: Lawler, Rios, Chitic. Photos: HCDTF.


From the Humboldt County Drug Task Force:

On March 10th, 2020, at approximately 10:15 p.m., deputies with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) conducted a traffic stop on Murray Road near Highway 101, McKinleyville, for an observed traffic violation.

Deputies spoke to the occupants of the vehicle and learned the driver, Paulino Chitic (age 27 from Suchitepequez, Guatemala), was unlicensed. The deputies were alerted to certain items within the vehicle that led them to believe that narcotics were inside. The deputies requested the assistance of a narcotic detection K9 and special agents from the Humboldt County Drug Task Force (HCDTF). A short time later, HCSO K9 “Yahtzee” was deployed and altered to the presence of narcotics within the vehicle.

HCDTF agents searched the vehicle and located over 2 pounds of suspected heroin packaged for sales. Agents also located a large amount of U.S. currency inside the vehicle that is believed to be profits from illegal drug sales. This currency was seized and will be held pending asset forfeiture proceedings.

Chitic and his passenger, Adelina Rios-Urbano (age 33 from Mexico), were subsequently placed under arrest. Both subjects were booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for possession and transportation of controlled substances. Bail enhancements pursuant to PC 1275 were granted from the Humboldt Superior Court and both subjects are ineligible for bail at this time.

Through their investigation, agents were able to establish that Chitic and Rios-Urbano were frequenting a residence located in the 3500 block of Dows Prairie Road, McKinleyville. This residence was familiar to HCDTF agents as they had previously served a search warrant at this location in September, 2019. The resident, Dustin Andrew Lawler (age 35), was arrested during the execution of this warrant for possession of controlled substances and operating / maintaining a drug house.

On March 11th, 2020, agents authored a new search warrant for Lawler’s residence. Upon arrival at approximately 11:00 a.m., Lawler was contacted and detained without incident. Agents searched Lawler’s residence and located additional heroin, methamphetamine, digital scales, and other items associated with narcotics trafficking. Lawler was subsequently placed under arrest and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for possession of controlled substances, committing a felony offense while on bail, and operating / maintaining a drug house. Lawler’s bail was set at $30,000.