Another Co-Conspirator Sentenced in Treasure Valley Drug Case
BOISE – Benjamin Prieto, 26, of Nampa, Idaho, was sentenced in United States District Court yesterday to 70 months in prison for attempted possession with intent to distribute 50 grams of methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge also sentenced Prieto to five years of supervised release and ordered him to serve 20 hours of community service. He pled guilty to the charge on July 3, 2012.
According to his plea agreement, Prieto contacted co-defendant Jose Escobedo-Gonzalez on December 29, 2010, and made arrangements to obtain in excess of fifty grams of a mixture containing methamphetamine. Prieto admitted he intended to obtain the methamphetamine and distribute it to others. Although arrangements were made between the two men, Prieto did not ultimately receive the methamphetamine on that date.
Six co-defendants sentenced earlier include Mexican nationals Jorge Luis Cardoza, Lourdes Muro-Garcia, Diego Gomez-Lara, and Antony Alegria Zedeno; and Leann Atkisson and Ronald Garcia, both of Nampa, Idaho.
Four defendants are awaiting sentencing: Victor Chavez Garcia - October 1; Juventino Lara-Plancarte and Fabian Nunez-Garcia - October 2; and Jose Ramon Escobedo-Gonzalez - December 10.
According to plea agreements, 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 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.