California Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing Marijuana
Eight Await Sentencing on Charges of Conspiracy to Distribute, Possession of Meth, Money Laundering
BOISE – Hector Morales, 29, of Tallamantez, California, the ninth defendant in a large-scale Treasure Valley drug trafficking operation, pleaded guilty today in United States District Court to possession with intent to distribute marijuana, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 7, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise.
According to the plea agreement, Morales admitted that on various dates, including but not limited to October 31, 2011, he met with and distributed marijuana to co-defendant Alfredo Dominguez-Villareal.
Morales faces up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a minimum term of two years of supervised release.
Eight co-defendants pleaded guilty earlier this month to related drug trafficking charges, including Dominguez-Villareal and Jorge Jimenez-Valencia, to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine; Nelson Fernando Garcia-Soto, Delia Garcia-Pineda, Juan Carlos Arredondo, Alonso Martinez, and Tanna Spencer, to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute; and Cynthia Casillas, to money laundering. Sentencings for the defendants will begin on January 22 and conclude on February 7.
Trial for the remaining defendant, Samuel Chavez, 32, of Boise, is set for January 22.
The case was the result of a joint investigation of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), led by the Drug Enforcement Administration in conjunction with the Boise Police Department and the Ada County Sheriff'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. Federal task force members include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and U.S. Marshals Service.
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.