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Pocatello man sentenced to federal prison for drug trafficking

Crime Watch

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The following is a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the district of Idaho.

POCATELLO — A Pocatello man was sentenced to 130 months in federal prison for attempted possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

According to court records, on Dec. 7, 2020, law enforcement intercepted a package in Pocatello. After a law enforcement K9 alerted to the presence of narcotics, officers searched the package and seized 3,751.6 grams of methamphetamine. Law enforcement repackaged the box, replacing the methamphetamine with rock salt to attempt a controlled delivery.

On Dec. 9, 2020, Donald Benningfield, 55, of Pocatello, picked up the package and returned to his residence where he was confronted by law enforcement.

After being read his Miranda rights, Benningfield admitted there would be between five and ten pounds of methamphetamine in the package. He also admitted to previously receiving four other packages of methamphetamine from San Diego, California. Benningfield admitted in court that he attempted to possess the methamphetamine seized from the package and he intended to distribute it.

Chief U.S. District Judge David C. Nye also ordered Benningfield to serve five years of supervised release following his prison sentence. Benningfield pleaded guilty to the charge on Sept. 24, 2021.

U.S. Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez, Jr., of the District of Idaho made the announcement and commended the cooperative efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Idaho State Police, which led to charges.

This case was prosecuted by the Special Assistant United States Attorney hired by the Ada County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office with funds provided by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program. HIDTA is part of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. It provides assistance to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States. Idaho is part of the Oregon-Idaho HIDTA. The Idaho HIDTA is a collaboration of local, multi-jurisdictional law enforcement drug task forces, and prosecuting agencies dedicated to addressing regional drug trafficking organizations that operate in Ada, Canyon, Bannock, Kootenai, and Malheur Counties.

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