5 Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine
BOISE – Jose Ramon Escobedo-Gonzalez, 35, Jorge Luis Cardoza-Sobrino, 25, Ronald Garcia, 62, all of Nampa, and Antony Alegria Zedeno, 25, of Caldwell, pleaded guilty yesterday in U. S. District Court to conspiracy to distribute in excess of 500 grams of methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Another co-defendant, Juventino Lara-Plancarte, 42, of Nampa, earlier pled guilty to the same conspiracy charge on March 6, 2012. All are Mexican nationals.
These, and six other co-defendants, are charged with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine in the Treasure Valley. According to the plea agreements, the conspiracy began in September 2009 and continued into mid-January 2011. The organization brought pounds of methamphetamine into Idaho from surroundings states and distributed it in the Treasure Valley. During the course of this investigation, law enforcement authorities seized five pounds of methamphetamine, marijuana, numerous firearms, vehicles, and more than $30,000 in currency.
The six other defendants are set for trial before Honorable Edward J. Lodge in Boise on April 17, 2012.
Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine is punishable by a mandatory minimum term of 10 years imprisonment and up to life in federal prison, a maximum fine of $10,000,000, and a term of five years of supervised release. In addition, lead defendant Jose Ramon Escobedo- Gonzalez pled guilty to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, which carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and up to life in prison, consecutive to any prison sentence imposed for the conspiracy charge, and a $250,000 fine.
Sentencing is set before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge in the Boise federal courthouse. Juventino Lara-Plancarte is set for sentencing on June 11, 2012, and for the remaining four defendants on June 12, 2012.
The indictment was the result of a year-long Organized Crime/Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation named “Operation Flame Thrower.” 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. Investigators and prosecutors from ten federal, state, and local agencies cooperated in the arrests and seizures, including: Nampa Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Canyon County Sheriff’s Office, Caldwell Police Department, Canyon County Prosecutor’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office.
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.