Three Mexican Nationals Sentenced for Drug Trafficking
POCATELLO – Three Mexican nationals were sentenced yesterday in United States District Court in Pocatello for distributing methamphetamine in Idaho, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.
Alfonso Sanchez-Elorza, 42, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge to 176 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release. Sanchez-Elorza was convicted by a federal jury in Pocatello on December 16, 2011, of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He pled guilty prior to trial to being a deported alien found in the United States.
Co-defendants Daniel Jaimes-Oliveros, 30, was sentenced to serve 168 months in prison and Justino Macedo, 55, to 135 months for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. Judge Lodge also ordered each defendant to serve five years of supervised release following their prison term and perform 120 hours of community service. They pled guilty to the charges on December 12, 2011.
During Sanchez-Elorza's three-day trial, the jury heard testimony that on November 18, 2010, he and his co-defendants 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 and claimed he did not know there were drugs in the car.
“I am pleased to see that each of these defendants will spend more than 10 years in federal prison. Methamphetamine trafficking remains Idaho's most significant drug crime,” said Olson. “These drug traffickers sought to distribute this poison at the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Working with the Shoshone Bannock Tribes, we will not let the Reservation become a haven for drug trafficking. All law enforcement agencies throughout Idaho are committed to working together to investigate and prosecute methamphetamine traffickers.”
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.