Mexican National Sentenced in Large-Scale Treasure Valley Drug Trafficking Case
BOISE – Diego Gomez-Lara, 28, a Mexican national formerly living in Nampa, Idaho, was sentenced today in United States District Court to 19 months in prison for using a communication device in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. He pled guilty to the charge on June 22.
According to the plea agreement, on January 12, 2011, Gomez-Lara used his personal phone to contact co-defendant Jose Ramon Escobedo-Gonzalez on his cell phone. The purpose of the call was to make arrangements for Escobedo-Gonzalez to distribute methamphetamine to Gomez-Lara for future distribution to others.
Four co-defendants, Jorge Luis Cardoza and Lourdes Muro-Garcia, both Mexican nationals, and Leann Atkisson and Ronald Garcia both of Nampa, Idaho, were sentenced earlier. Cardoza will serve 120 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine; Muro-Garcia will serve 30 months for money laundering; and Atkisson and Garcia were each sentenced to 51 months for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
Awaiting sentencing in the case for drug related offenses are Juventino Lara-Plancarte, Fabian Nunez-Garcia, Jose Ramon Escobedo-Gonzalez, Antony Alegria Zedeno, and Benjamin Prieto. Co-defendant Victor Chavez Garcia was convicted on July 13 of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams of methamphetamine and using a communication facility in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense; sentencing is set for October 1.
The defendants are charged with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine in the Treasure Valley. According to plea agreements, the conspiracy began in September 2009 and continued to mid-January 2011. The organization brought pounds of methamphetamine into Idaho from surroundings states and distributed it throughout the Treasure Valley. During the investigation, law enforcement officers seized five pounds of methamphetamine, marijuana, numerous firearms, vehicles, and more than $30,000 in currency. The United States is seeking forfeiture of assets derived from the drug trafficking offenses.
The Organized Crime/Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) case, named “Operation Flamethrower,” is the result of a year-long, multi-agency investigation. Investigators and prosecutors from federal, state, and local agencies cooperated in the arrests and seizures. It included the cooperative law enforcement efforts of the 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 Police Department, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Canyon County Prosecutor's Office, District 3 Probation and Parole, and the United States Attorney's Office.
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.