Bail reduction denied in Irish Valley drug, gun case
SUNBURY - One of two men questioned in an unsolved February shooting in Irish Valley was denied a reduction of bail on gun and drug charges.
Esteven R. Soto, 30, of 1752 Walton Ave., 6A, Bronx, N.Y., remains in Montour County Prison on $250,000 bail. Northumberland County Judge Charles H. Saylor denied a motion to reduce bail at a July 10 hearing. He had done the same in April.
Soto is charged with three felony counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, one felony count of illegally possessing a firearm, and three misdemeanor counts of possession of controlled substances.
Soto and Rafael A. Diroche Jr., 29, of 250 S. Poplar St., Apt. 3, Mount Carmel, were sought for questioning Feb. 8 hours after Salicia Yost, 20, of Milton, was shot in the head.
According to police, guns and drugs were found inside Diroche's apartment, where Soto was reportedly staying. Both men are convicted felons and restricted from possessing a firearm, and both were arrested. The charges stem from the alleged discovery and no one has yet been charged in Yost's shooting, which remains under investigation.
A passer-by found Yost alone inside a 2013 Chevy Sonic with Ohio registration that appeared to have crashed into a snow pile along Irish Valley Road, three miles north of Shamokin. After the bullet wound was confirmed with police, an attempted homicide investigation was launched.
Yost was admitted to the hospital in critical condition, where she remained for nearly a month before being released.
Diroche and Yost were in contact with each other through text messaging in the hours leading up to the shooting. They were texting about meeting up and specifically spoke of "being on Irish Valley Road" minutes before Yost was discovered about 5:30 a.m., according to a police affidavit.
Diroche remains in Northumberland County Prison. He's charged with six counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, six counts of illegal possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm without a license, receiving stolen property and criminal use of a communication facility, all of which are felonies. He's also charged with misdemeanors of possession of a controlled substance, six counts and possession of drug paraphernalia.