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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Idaho

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Caldwell Woman Sentenced To 120 Months In Federal Prison For Meth Trafficking

Defendant One of Eleven in Gun and Drug Trafficking Case

BOISE – Michelle Christina Ritch, 36, of Caldwell, Idaho, was sentenced yesterday in United States District Court to 120 months in prison for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge also ordered Ritch to serve five years of supervised release. She pleaded guilty to the charge on December 17, 2013.

According to information presented in court, Ritch admitted to conspiring with co-defendants to distribute methamphetamine beginning in January 2013. Ritch continued to participate in the distribution of methamphetamine until she was arrested on March 22, 2013. When Ritch was arrested by officers with the Caldwell Police Department, they located approximately two ounces of methamphetamine and a drug ledger. Ritch has prior felony convictions for burglary and possession of a controlled substance.

Ritch and ten other individuals were indicted on July 9, 2013, in a case including charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, distribution of cocaine, and unlawful possession of firearms. The defendants are responsible for distributing pounds of methamphetamine within the community. During the investigation, law enforcement agents seized twelve firearms, including a stolen firearm, and an illegal fully-automatic machine gun. All eleven defendants have pleaded guilty, including defendant Jeramie Mahler, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Ritch is the sixth defendant to be sentenced; co-defendants Wendy Harrison and Bobbi Eileen Woolsey 2 were both sentenced previously to 84 months in prison and Nearia Pinnell was sentenced to 33 months in prison; Daniel Vaughan was sentenced to 80 months in prison; and Darrell Zirschky was sentenced to 168 months in prison.

The case was investigated by the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crimes Task Force, which is comprised of federal, state and local agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Boise Police Department; Ada County Sheriff’s Office; Caldwell Police Department; Nampa Police Department; Meridian Police Department; Canyon County Sheriff’s Office; and Idaho Department of Probation and Parole. Other agencies that contributed to this investigation include the Drug Enforcement Administration, Nampa Police Department, Caldwell Police Department, Canyon County Sheriff’s Office, and Ada County Sheriff’s Office.

The case is being prosecuted by the Special Assistant U.S. Attorney hired by the Treasure Valley Partnership and the State of Idaho to address gang crimes. The Treasure Valley Partnership is comprised of a group of elected officials in southwest Idaho dedicated to regional coordination, cooperation, and collaboration on creating coherent regional growth. For more information, visit treasurevalleypartners.org.