BOISE, IDAHO – Ten people were indicted in U.S. District Court in Boise, Idaho, on February 10, 2011, on numerous narcotics trafficking and firearms charges. According to the four separate indictments, which were unsealed today, the defendants are accused of conspiring together and with others to distribute controlled substances, including methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana, throughout southwestern Idaho.
In connection with the indictments, joint enforcement operations were conducted earlier in the week that resulted in the arrest of 11 people and execution of ten search warrants in the Magic Valley and Treasure Valley of southwestern Idaho.
Several of the arrests and search warrants were the direct result of a 14-month Idaho State Police (ISP)-led investigation, in which the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) assisted with identifying narcotics and illegal firearms activities in Idaho, Arizona and Mexico.
According to the indictments, multiple pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and four firearms were seized by law enforcement during the investigation. As a result, the following individuals were indicted federally on February 10, and arrested on February 15 and 16, on charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distributing methamphetamine, distributing marijuana, distributing cocaine, and/or unlawful possession of a firearm by illegal aliens.
Lazaro Ramirez Arreola, 39, of Parma, Idaho;
Ceila Ivonnie Loya, 31, of Wendell, Idaho;
Julio Cesar Cardelas-Martinez, 32, of Jerome, Idaho;
Noel Diaz, 33, of Richfield, Idaho;
Rocendo Lara, 55, of Jerome, Idaho;
Jesus Manuel Fontes, 49, of Jerome, Idaho; and
Francisco Garcia, 49, of Bliss, Idaho.
One defendant, Juan Montejano Barraza, 40, of Twin Falls, Idaho, was already in custody. Two remaining defendants have not been arrested. The indictments also includes forfeiture allegations.
The federal charge of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances carries a mandatory minimum penalty of ten years to life in prison, a $4 million fine, and a term of supervised release for five years.
Three men identified through ISP investigation were also arrested and charged in state court with narcotics trafficking, possession and distribution offenses: Bernardo Benites, 52, of Kimberly, Idaho; Pablo Roque, 43, of Jerome, Idaho; and Elpidto Fontes-Martinez, 46, also of Jerome.
This case was investigated by DEA, ISP, ATF, and ICE Homeland Security Investigations. Assistance during the joint operation was also provided by the Canyon County Sheriff's Office, Jerome Police Department, Jerome Sheriff's Office, Twin Falls Police Department, Twin Falls Sheriff's Office, Gooding Sheriff's Office, Idaho Probation and Parole, and the Boise Police Department.
An indictment is a means of charging a person with criminal activity. It is not evidence. The person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.