FBI press release
(POCATELLO) – U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced today that nine co-conspirators in a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking organization pleaded guilty Tuesday and Wednesday in United States District Court in Pocatello.
Samuel Nevarez-Ayon, 26, of Rexburg, Idaho, pleaded guilty to continuing criminal enterprise for his leadership role in the conspiracy. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 8, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Pocatello. Nevarez-Ayon faces a minimum term of 20 years up to life in prison, a maximum fine of $2 million, and a minimum term of five years of supervised release.
Six defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute in excess of 50 grams of methamphetamine—Fabiola Esmerelda Marin Castro, 25, of Rexburg; Juan Ortiz, Jr., 28, and Antonio Javier Mendoza, 28, of Shelley, Idaho; Daniel Quiroz, 25, and Ricardo Garcia Lopez, 35, of Idaho Falls, Idaho; and Rafael Ignacio Guerrero, 37, of North Las Vegas, Nevada. They each face a minimum term of 10 years in prison, at least five years of supervised release, and a maximum fine of $10 million. Castro, Ortiz, and Mendoza are scheduled to be sentenced on March 5; Quiroz on March 6; and Lopez and Guerrero on March 7.
Everado Tapia Torres, Jr., 30, of Idaho Falls, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine. The charge is punishable by at least five years in prison, a maximum fine of $5 million, and a minimum term of four years of supervised release. Torres is scheduled to be sentenced on March 7.
Abel Garcia, 24, of Idaho Falls, pleaded guilty to false statement to a bank. He faces up to 30 years in prison, a maximum fine of $1 million, and up to five years of supervised release. Garcia is scheduled to be sentenced on March 8.
According to the plea agreements, from June 2005 through January 2012, a group of individuals centered around Nevarez-Ayon entered into a conspiracy to possess and distribute in excess of 50 grams of actual methamphetamine in the Idaho Falls area. In furtherance of the conspiracy, Nevarez-Ayon admitted that he distributed methamphetamine to other individuals on at least three occasions during this same time period. In furtherance of the conspiracy, Nevarez-Ayon directed activities of various co-defendants. In addition to distributing methamphetamine, several defendant laundered proceeds from the sale of the methamphetamine and made false loan application to local banks to further the laundering of money. During the course of the conspiracy, the defendants obtained in excess of $500,000 from the distribution of methamphetamine.
Five co-defendants are scheduled to enter guilty pleas to related charges on January 23 and 24, 2013, including Guadalupe Meraz, 41, of Medera, California; Ana Rosa Valdez-Ceja, 26, of Shelley; and Nicolas Levi Olsen, 29, Alberto Abarca, 22; and Isidoro David Herrera, 31, of Idaho Falls.
The charges are the result of a nine-month investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), including the Idaho State Police; Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office; Idaho Falls Police Department; Madison County Sheriff’s Office; Rexburg Police Department; Bingham County Sheriff’s Office; Fremont County Sheriff’s Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Other federal agencies participating in the OCDETF program include the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Marshals Service.
The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations.
Stephan Rockefeller, EastIdahoNews.com
Jackson Adams, Teton Valley News
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com