Four Members of Drug Trafficking Ring Sentenced
POCATELLO – Four members of a large scale drug trafficking conspiracy were sentenced to federal prison this week, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced today. The three men and one woman appeared before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Pocatello.
Julio Medellin-Pena, 47, of Burley, was sentenced on Tuesday to 126 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Medellin-Pena pleaded guilty in March 2011.
Veronica Cruz-Jimenz, 34, a Mexican national, was sentenced on Monday to 120 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release. On April 5, 2011, Cruz-Jimenez and Andres Collado-Rojas, 20, also a Mexican national, were convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine between October 2009 and August 2010. Collado-Rojas was sentenced on July 18 to 151 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release.
Diego Vega-Corona, 40, a Mexican national, was sentenced on Monday to 78 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. Vega- Corona will be required to serve three years of supervised release after his prison term. He pleaded guilty to the charge in May 2011. As part of his plea, Vega-Corona forfeited cash proceeds of at least $2,000.
Luis Angel Cruz-Jimenez, 25, a Mexican national, was sentenced today to 37 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Cruz- Jimenez will also be required to serve three years of supervised release. He pled guilty on May 3.
Sentenced on July 8 on related drug charges were Mexican nationals Julio Jimenez- Morales, 30, to 108 months in prison, and Jose Penaloza-Paramo, 30, to 240 months in prison. Both men will be required to serve five years of supervised release following their prison term. Jimenez-Morales was ordered to forfeit $10,000; Penaloza-Paramo, $39,000.
The defendants were charged in a 34-count superseding indictment filed in July 2010. According to plea agreements and trial testimony, between October 2009 and August 2010, the co-conspirators, led by Jose Penaloza-Paramo, participated in a drug trafficking organization responsible for the distribution of multiple pounds of methamphetamine in Ada, Canyon, Bannock and Franklin counties.
“Methamphetamine trafficking is a serious problem that demands a serious response from law enforcement, prosecutors and the courts,” said Olson. “These defendants, appropriately, will pay a heavy price for bringing this dangerously addictive drug to Idaho communities. State and federal law enforcement officers throughout Idaho will work together to ensure that drug traffickers are caught, prosecuted and convicted.”
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Idaho State Police, Canyon County Sheriff's Office, Ada County Sheriff's Office, Franklin County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
The investigation was the result of a joint investigation of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). 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 organizations.
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a collaborative effort by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and communities to prevent and deter gun violence.