LARGE DRUG OPERATION DISMANTLED
The United States Attorney’s Office, the Canyon County Prosecutor’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Nampa Police Department announced today that a yearlong investigation in Canyon County has resulted in the arrest of 9 felony suspects, the execution of 18 search warrants, and the seizure of methamphetamine, marijuana and firearms.
Operation Flamethrower, which is an Organized Crime/Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, was the result of a multi-agency law enforcement effort which targeted large-scale methamphetamine and firearms traffickers during the last 12 months. In the early morning hours of January 14, 2011, investigators from approximately 10 federal, state and local agencies served search warrants in Nampa and Caldwell, resulting in the arrests and the seizure of approximately 5 pounds of methamphetamine, marijuana, 28 firearms, and 2 bullet resistant vests. Over $30,000 in currency, and approximately 10 vehicles, were also seized.
Felony charges have been filed in Canyon County against the following 9 adults: Jose Ramon Escobedo Gonzalez (33) of Nampa, Idaho, Possession with Intent to Deliver, immigration hold; Lourdes Muro Gonzalez (32) of Nampa, Idaho, Aiding and Abetting Delivery of a Controlled Substance, immigration hold; Fabian Nunez-Garcia (49) of Nampa, Idaho, Possession with Intent to Deliver, immigration hold; Juventino Plancarte-Lara (42) of Nampa, Idaho, Trafficking in Methamphetamine, immigration hold; Jorge Luis Cardoza (24) of Nampa, Idaho, Trafficking in Methamphetamine, immigration hold; Guadalupe Vargas Bonilla (27) of Nampa, Idaho, Trafficking in Methamphetamine, immigration hold; Victor Chavez Garcia (18) of Nampa, Idaho, Trafficking in Methamphetamine; Martha Chavez (50) of Nampa, Idaho, Trafficking in Methamphetamine, immigration hold; and Elena Lupuleasa (25) of Nampa, Idaho, Grand Theft by Possession of Stolen Property.
In addition, three juveniles have been charged with Aiding and Abetting the Delivery of a Controlled Substance. More than 20 other suspects were cited for misdemeanor drug possession and frequenting charges, arrested on other warrants, or placed on immigration holds.
According to Nampa Police Chief Bill Augsburger and DEA Resident Agent-in-Charge Bill Lutz, this operation is the sixth in a series of large drug trafficking cases which have been undertaken by local and federal authorities in the last four years. Five previous operations, Operation Mountain Lion (2006/2007 methamphetamine case), Operation White Wolf (2008 cocaine case), Operation Tall Boy (2008/2009 methamphetamine/cocaine/marijuana case), Operation Poncho Villa (2009/2010 methamphetamine/cocaine/marijuana case), and Operation Night Rider (2010-2011 methamphetamine case) also resulted in the successful prosecution of other large-scale trafficking organizations.
Operation Flamethrower included the cooperative law enforcement efforts of the following agencies: Nampa Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Canyon County Sheriff’s Office, Canyon County SWAT team, METRO Violent Crime Task Force, Idaho State Police, Caldwell Police Department, Ada County Sheriff’s Office, Boise City Police Department, ICE, Canyon County Prosecutor’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The investigation is ongoing, and additional persons are expected to be charged in federal and state court.
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.
A complaint is a means of charging a person with criminal activity. It is not evidence. The person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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.