11 Gang Members and Associates Indicted Federally
BOISE – Six members of a “Norteño,” or Northside, street gang active in the Treasure Valley and four known associates were indicted this week by a federal grand jury, announced U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson. A fifth associate was indicted last month. The grand jury indicted the gang members and associates in ten separate indictments charging a total of twenty-seven counts of drug trafficking, six counts of unlawfully possessing firearms, four counts of possessing sawed-off shotguns, two counts of transferring sawed-off shotguns, and one count of possessing stolen firearms.
Five of these defendants were arrested earlier today; three others are in custody on state charges; and three remain fugitives. The federal court unsealed the indictments following the arrests. The charges are the result of Treasure Valley gang unit investigations into the activities of Northside gang members. A fourteen-month investigation by the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crimes Task Force produced nine indictments charging a total of ten defendants. The Boise Police Department's gang unit conducted the investigation of the eleventh case.
The defendants named in the indictments are Nampa, Idaho, residents Francisco Javier Ramirez-Arreola, 37, Jennifer Ann Hillyard, 27, Terra Lee McFetridge, 28, Justin Alfred Nieto, 23, Raul Menchaca, 26, Andres Marcos Trejo,24, Tiffany Ann Stapleton, 30, and John Robert Rodriguez, 20; Boise resident Khesha Marie Freese, 34; and Caldwell, Idaho, residents Baldemar Arteaga, Jr., 27, and Shawn Lynn Gordon, 32.
The indictments against the Northside gang members and associates were only a portion of the federal grand jury's gun and drug charges this month. The federal grand jury this month also charged Stephen Na, 20, of Santa Rosa, California, an associate of a Norteño gang named “Lokked Out Khmer,” on federal firearms and drug charges. Na was arrested today in California. Also indicted was Kenneth Lee Morgan, 50, of Nampa, for possession of a sawed-off shotgun. Morgan is not a gang member.
Federal drug trafficking charges are generally punishable by up to twenty years in prison, a fine up to $1 million, and three years of supervised release. Where the defendants are charged with distributing five grams or more of actual methamphetamine, they face a minimum term of five up to forty years in prison, a fine up to $5 million, and a minimum of four years supervised release.
The charge of unlawful possession of a firearm is punishable by up to ten years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years supervised release. The charge of possession and transfer of a sawed-off shotgun is punishable by up to ten years in prison, a fine up to $10,000, and three years of supervised release.
“These charges and arrests underscore the collaborative efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement to combat gang crime in Idaho,” said Olson. “We will use every available resource and work together to minimize gun and drug crime and take down the violent street gangs that damage our communities.”
“The Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crimes Task Force deserves recognition for their ongoing commitment to creating safer communities throughout Idaho,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson. “The law enforcement partners who collaborate in this effort have had, and will continue to have, a significant impact on gang violence and criminal activity throughout the region. These most recent indictments and arrests are an excellent example of the work being done to address the gang threat in Idaho. The FBI is proud to partner with the many agencies that contribute to the task force's mission.”
These investigations and arrests involved the cooperative law enforcement efforts of the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crime Task Force, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Idaho National Guard Counterdrug Program, Ada County Sheriff's Office, Canyon County Sheriff's Office, Owyhee County Sheriff's Office, Idaho Department of Correction, Boise Police Department, Caldwell Police Department, Meridian Police Department, Nampa Police Department, Twin Falls Police Department, and the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The eleven gang members and associates are being prosecuted by the Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA) hired by the Treasure Valley Partnership, the Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and the State of Idaho to address gang crimes. The SAUSA has indicted a total of 183 defendants in federal court since the program's inception in February 2007. The Treasure Valley Partnership is comprised of a group of elected officials in southeast Idaho dedicated to regional coordination, cooperation, and collaboration on creating coherent regional growth. For more information, visit www.treasurevalleypartners.org.
An indictment 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.