Illegal Alien Convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine
Two co-defendants plead guilty on related drug and gun charges
POCATELLO – Alfonso Sanchez-Elorza, 42, a Mexican national, was convicted by a federal jury in Pocatello yesterday of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. On December 13, Sanchez-Elorza pled guilty to being a deported alien found in the United States.
During the three-day trial, the jury heard testimony that on November 18, 2010, Sanchez-Elorza, along with co-defendants, Daniel Jaimes-Oliveras and Justino Macedo, brought one pound of methamphetamine and five pounds of marijuana from Fresno, California, through Jerome, Idaho, to the Ft. Hall Casino in Ft. Hall, Idaho, where they had arranged to sell the drugs to an undercover officer. The men were stopped by the Idaho State Police before they could complete the sale.
According to trial testimony, in a post arrest interview, Sanchez-Elorza admitted to being in the United States illegally. He claimed he did not know there were drugs in the car, but admitted that he knew Jaimes-Oliveras was going to “meet” someone at the casino; he claimed no knowledge of the purpose for the meeting.
On December 12, 2011, Jaimes-Oliveras, 30, and Macedo, 55, also Mexican nationals, each pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and to being an alien in possession of a firearm. The three co-defendants face from 10 years to life in prison, a minimum term of five years supervised release, and a maximum fine of $8 million. They will be subject to deportation after they are released from prison.
Sanchez-Elorza, Jaimes-Oliveras, and Macedo are scheduled to be sentenced on March 12, 2012, at the federal courthouse in Pocatello.
“These convictions underscore federal, state and local law enforcement’s commitment to aggressively prosecute the drug traffickers who damage our communities, prey upon Idahoans and cause damage that ripples through our state,” said Olson. “Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and its partners will use all lawful means to bring to justice and seek punishment for those who traffic in it.”
The case was investigated by the Idaho State Police, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Mini-Cassia Drug Task Force, Ada County Sheriff's Office, Jerome City Police Department, Bannock County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
The Power County Prosecutor's Office assisted the U.S. Attorney's Office in the prosecution of the case.
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.