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Convict faces new drug charges

A Medford man who pleaded guilty to driving recklessly in an encounter with the county's top drug cop last year faces new drug charges.

Jose Pepe Banuelos, 25, of the 300 block of Jeanette Street, was indicted last week on charges of possession and delivery of cocaine. He will appear in Jackson County Circuit Court on June 24 to hear the charges.

Banuelos and 25-year-old Jorge Armando Cisneros were arrested in April last year after Cisneros threw a take-out box of Chinese food into an unmarked police vehicle stopped at the intersection of Columbus and Stewart avenues. The vehicle's driver, Lt. Jim Anderson, former commander of the Jackson County Narcotics Enforcement Team, fired a shot at Cisneros. The bullet lodged in the side of a nearby house. No one was injured.

Banuelos was charged with reckless driving and possession of methamphetamine. Cisneros was charged with harassment and criminal mischief. Anderson was cleared of any wrongdoing but was reprimanded for using obscene gestures. He retired from the sheriff's department last month.

— Earlier this year, a JACNET informant learned that Banuelos was selling drugs from his home, said Lt. Dewey Patten, JACNET commander. The informant purchased 12 grams of cocaine at the West Medford house in January, Patten said. However, JACNET officers didn't arrest Banuelos, anticipating that he would be indicted and ordered to appear in court.

Officers did not specifically target Banuelos, Patten said, adding that the informant called police with a tip. At the time of the alleged drug sale, Banuelos was serving three months of home detention in lieu of a jail term, according to records at the Jackson County Jail.

In November, Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Patricia Crain sentenced Banuelos to 90 days in jail after he pleaded guilty to delivering cocaine in 2001. Banuelos also pleaded guilty to the reckless driving charge, for which he served probation and performed community service.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail