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Jail time for burglary, threats against wife

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A Storm Lake man was sentenced to 75 days in jail for a series of offenses dating back to last September. 

Associate Buena Vista County District Court Judge Andy Smith sentenced Apollo Price, 44, to the jail term in an order last month. The order was handed down in front of County Attorney Paul Allen and Price, who didn’t agree on what sentence fit the crimes he was convicted of. He pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana second offense and first-degree harassment, both misdemeanors. In exchange, the Buena Vista County Attorney’s Office dismissed all remaining counts against Price and lowered the severity of the marijuana possession charge Price pleaded guilty to. The state sought trial on misdemeanor harassment and felony charges for burglary, marijuana possession and failure to affix a drug stamp. (The tax stamp and burglary charges were dismissed.)

The convictions stem from a series of arrests last fall and early this spring. Price allegedly burglarized an apartment in the 1400 block of Seneca Street in September. Last October, he was arrested for having over an ounce of marijuana during a traffic stop in the 1500 block of Lake Avenue. In March, Price allegedly threatened to kill his estranged wife during a cellphone conversation. 

SL man faces sentencing for parking lot altercation

A Storm Lake man will face sentencing in July related to an altercation in the Walmart parking lot. 

Chuol Gatluak, 24, was allegedly identified via video surveillance outside Walmart last December punching another individual, according to an affidavit filed in Buena Vista County District Court by Storm Lake police. On Dec. 10, Gatluak was allegedly with four male friends in the Walmart parking lot asking another individual for “some smoke,” according to the affidavit. A physical altercation allegedly broke out when the individual answered “no.” The affidavit claims that Gatluak punched one of the men three to four times in the back of the head, but that he did not sustain visible injuries. 

Police uncovered the altercation on Walmart video surveillance, according to court documents. Buena Vista County District Court Judge Andy Smith issued a warrant for Gatluak’s arrest two days after it was requested by law enforcement authorities.

In April, Gatluak pleaded guilty to participating in a riot, a felony. District Court Judge Charles Borth set Gatluak’s sentencing hearing for 10 a.m. on July 29 at the Buena Vista County Courthouse.  

Sentencing  scheduled for drugs 

A district court judge has scheduled a sentencing for an Albert City man in connection with a pair of felony drug possession charges.

The Buena Vista County Sheriff’s Office arrested Todd Romo, 60, on Sept. 9, 2023. The officer accompanied a probation officer for a home visitation related to Romo’s probation, which began last January after he was convicted of firearms possession as a felon. 

The officers located drugs and drug paraphernalia “in plain view,” according to an affidavit filed April 1. Officers executed a subsequent search warrant, also according to the affidavit, and located methamphetamine, which was confirmed by the DCI chemical testing lab. 

Romo turned himself into the Buena Vista Sheriff’s Office on April 24, according to a file indicating a warrant was served that same day. 

Romo has been charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana, both his third or subsequent offense and both felonies. He pleaded guilty to the possession charges, according to a June 12 written guilty plea. The felony charges carry a maximum sentence of five years incarceration. 

Earlier this month, District Judge Charles Borth ordered Romo’s sentencing hearing to take place July 29 at 1:30 p.m. in the Buena Vista County Courthouse. 

Warrant issued

A warrant was issued for the arrest of a Fonda man who allegedly committed a string of probation violations over the last six months. 

Buena Vista County District Court Judge Charles Borth ordered the arrest of Gora Akwai, 25, in an order June 13. Akwai will be held in Buena Vista County Jail on a $2,000 bond upon arrest. Judge Borth noted the Buena Vista County Attorney’s Office showed probable cause that Akwai violated probation.

Assistant County Attorney Ashley Herrig attached a violation report that outlined a string of probation violations dating back to January. Akwai allegedly committed 13 violations, while adjudicated at a residential treatment facility in Fort Dodge, according to court records. He was spotted with a bottle of Five O’Clock vodka inside a coat pocket in January. In February, he was allegedly found with a hidden cell phone hidden in a bunk bed. In the same month he allegedly tested positive for methamphetamine. Earlier this month, he allegedly missed work at McDonald’s, adjacent to the residential treatment facility. 

Caitlin Jeske, a probation officer with the Fort Dodge office, noted Akwai was adjudicated to the facility in lieu of two years in prison. The county attorney’s office has requested revocation of Akwai’s two-year probation sentence twice. Judge Smith has declined to impose prison. 

An initial appearance for the probation revocation hearing will be set after Akwai is arrested. 

Felony charges dismissed

A slew of felony charges that were leveled against a Storm Lake woman last October were dismissed from Buena Vista County District Court. 

County Attorney Paul Allen wrote in an April filing that the three felony charges leveled against Brianna Chea, 19, should be dismissed because “prosecution isn’t justified.” Allen said of the dismissal that Chea cooperated with an investigation into the incident that prompted the charges. 

“(Chea) was cooperative in the investigation and the overall evidence concerning the incident ultimately led to three other guilty pleas, one for which the primary aggressor went to prison,” Allen told the Times Pilot of the dismissal. 

Chea was one of four Storm Lake residents who were arrested in connection with an alleged at the Storm Lake Casey’s on West Milwaukee Avenue. Storm Lake police alleged Chea positioned a 2014 Toyota Corolla to block in another vehicle at the Casey’s. Tailor Khamtanh, Gabriel Catarino-Rodriguez and June Phiengsai then assaulted the occupant of the vehicle that was blocked in. Khamtanh was sentenced to prison. Catarino-Rodriguez and Phiengsai received two years probation for participating in a riot, a felony charge both men pleaded guilty to in May. 

The victim was charged and convicted of driving while revoked and sentenced to two days in jail, according to court records. The victim was stopped after fleeing from the Casey’s, as he was assaulted, according to court records. 

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