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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 28, 2013

Mexican National Sentenced To 14 Years For Distributing Meth In The Magic Valley

POCATELLO – Jose Tapia-Lopez, 29, a Mexican national formerly living in Heyburn, Idaho, was sentenced today in United States District Court to 168 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also ordered Tapia-Lopez to serve five years of supervised release. He pleaded guilty to the charge on November 5, 2012.

According to the plea agreement, on April 11, 2012, Tapia-Lopez arranged to distribute a half pound of methamphetamine to an individual in Twin Falls, Idaho. While en route to the meeting, law enforcement officers attempted to stop Tapia-Lopez’s vehicle. Tapia-Lopez tried to elude the officers, during which he threw methamphetamine from the car’s window. The officers recovered the substance. Forensic analysis later determined the substance contained in excess of fifty grams of actual methamphetamine.

On November 5, 2012, Tapia-Lopez’s co-defendant, Eulalio Loya, 56, of Rupert, Idaho, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine. According to the plea agreement, on February 16, 2012, Loya arranged to distribute a quarter pound of methamphetamine in Fort Hall, Idaho, and subsequently met and sold the individual in excess of 50 grams of actual methamphetamine. Loya is scheduled to be sentenced on February 11, 2013, at the federal courthouse in Pocatello. He faces a minimum sentence of ten years up to life in prison, a maximum fine of $10 million, and at least five years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Idaho State Police, with assistance by the Minidoka County Sheriff’s Office and Cassia County Sheriff’s Office.