Four Co-Conspirators Plead Guilty To Federal Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering Charges
To Date, 13 Defendants Have Pleaded Guilty in the Case
POCATELLO – Four more members of an Idaho Falls area drug trafficking organization pleaded guilty in United States District Court in Pocatello, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.
Isidoro David Herrera, 31, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute in excess of 50 grams of methamphetamine. The charge is punishable by a minimum term of ten years up to life in prison, a maximum fine of $10 million, and at least five years of supervised release.
Alberto Abarca, 22, of Idaho Falls, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Nicolas Levi Olsen, 29, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, pleaded guilty today to aiding and abetting the possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $1 million, and at least three years of supervised release.
Ana Rosa Valdez-Ceja, 26, of Shelley, Idaho, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to money laundering, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $500,000, and up to three years of supervised release.
According to the plea agreements, from June 2005 through January 2012, a group of individuals centered around co-defendant Samuel 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 defendants 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. The government is seeking forfeiture of assets derived from the criminal offenses.
Abarca and Valdez-Ceja are scheduled to be sentenced on April 29, and Herrera and Olsen on April 30, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Pocatello.
Nine co-conspirators pleaded guilty in December 2012 to related drug trafficking charges. Sentencings are set for March 6, 7 and 8.
The remaining defendant, Guadalupe Meraz, 41, of Madera, California, did not appear in court as scheduled. A warrant for his arrest has issued.
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 organization