https://hotair.com/ed-morrissey/2022/07/22/cashless-bail-fail-major-fentanyl-traffickers-no-show-on-california-court-date-n484531

New York isn’t the only state with an inexplicable own-recognizance story today. Fox News reports that two fentanyl traffickers captured by California failed to show up for their court date yesterday. Police found 150,000 tablets of the dangerous narcotic in their possession during the arrest, and it looked like law enforcement had hobbled an important distribution node for the lethal drug on June 24.

Despite holding $750,000 in street value of fentanyl, the California court considered the pair “low risk” and withdrew the requirement for a bond on bail. And no one should be surprised by what happened next:

Two accused drug traffickers busted with 150,000 fentanyl pills during a California traffic stop last month failed to show in court Thursday after being released on cashless bail.

Defendants Jose Zendejas, 25, and Benito Madrigal, 19 — released on their own recognizance less than 24 hours after their arrests with the large stash of illicit drugs — were scheduled to appear for their arraignments at the Tulare County Courthouse in central California on Thursday morning, but both men failed to show. …

Their bail was first set at $1 million based on the quantity of drugs seized, but the county probation department’s risk assessment submitted to the county superior court classified the men as “low risk,” and they both were subsequently released on their own recognizance, Visalia Times Delta reported.

Neither the district attorney nor the sheriff said they were consulted on the release.

Two traffickers caught with $750K of fentanyl — a highly dangerous drug even in casual contact — got assessed as “low risk”? How did that happen? The whole point of arresting and charging Zendejas and Madrigal was to prevent them from creating a very large risk to the public. Fentanyl ain’t weed, after all — it kills people regularly, and is so prevalent that law enforcement has had to make Narcan a regular part of their first-aid kits.

Tulare Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said he got blindsided by the cashless-bail decision, but was hardly surprised at all by the defendants’ no-show. Boudreaux also cited the open border as a major risk for fentanyl trafficking, making this a systemic failure:

“I didn’t learn about the order until it was far too late,” Boudreaux previously told Fox News. “I couldn’t believe we had 150,00 fentanyl pills — one of the most dangerous epidemics facing our nation today — with people in custody that we may potentially be able to impact the future of this type of drug trafficking organization… and we let them go.”

“Although there is a need for a pre-trial release program, to do it covertly in the middle of the night in a very nontransparent matter is extremely dangerous,” Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward told Fox News on Thursday outside the courthouse, referring to the court’s initial decision to release the defendants. “What we discovered here was that it was occurring based on a decision without any foundation of the facts of the case. And I think going forward, I think everyone is realizing that’s a mistake and should not continue.”

“The problem is once again the legislature and the state of California are trying to go down some social experiment born on the back of law-abiding citizens,” Ward said. “I go out on a limb and say that had these defendants been subject to the million bail that was in place when they were arrested, and they made bail based on that amount, they would have some skin in the game, some financial obligation and motivation to return to court.”

Hopefully, law enforcement will find Zendejas and Madrigal and return them to custody to face their charges. I suspect, however, that they’ve made it out of the state and perhaps out of the country by now, thanks to the idiotic policies of California’s prosecutors and courts. But as Boudreaux points out, the real problem here is the wide-open borders of the Biden administration and the lack of public attention to its consequences. In this case, everyone except law enforcement is a no-show.

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