Two Co-Defendants from Idaho Falls Sentenced for
POCATELLO – Two members of an Eastern Idaho drug trafficking organization were sentenced in United States District Court this week, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Three co-conspirators were sentenced in October 2013 to serve a combined total of over 46 years in federal prison.
Erica Rodriguez, 33, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was sentenced on Monday to 92 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for possession to with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine. Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also ordered Rodriguez to pay a $750 fine. She pleaded guilty on August 13.
Marco Antonio Echeverria, 25, also of Idaho Falls, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Brian Ted Stewart to 97 months in prison for distributing methamphetamine. Echeverria was also ordered to serve five years of supervised release and pay a $1,000 fine. He pleaded guilty on August 29.
Co-defendant Fausto Urias, of Idaho Falls, was sentenced earlier to 35 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine. He was also ordered to forfeit $100,000 and pay a $5,000 fine. Urias’ lengthy prison sentence was the result of the court finding him responsible for a significant amount of methamphetamine; he was the leader/organizer of a criminal organization; he possessed guns in connection with the offense, and he used violence and threats of violence in carrying out the offense. Co-defendant Benito Joya, of Rigby Idaho, was sentenced to 121 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine. Co-defendant Misti Chapman, also of Idaho Falls, was sentenced to 21 months in prison for distribution of methamphetamine and violating a previously imposed term of supervised release.
The remaining defendant, Juan Carlos Garcia, 36, of Idaho Falls, will be sentenced on December 16 for conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine.
According to plea agreements filed in the case, between November 2009 and October 23, 2012, Urias and Garcia conspired to possess and distribute methamphetamine to other individuals in the Idaho Falls area. Garcia made arrangements with an individual to purchase methamphetamine and directed that person to a location in Idaho Falls, Idaho, where he met with Echeverria. According to the plea agreement, Echeverria told the individual that Garcia had asked him to handle the transaction; the following day Echeverria provided the individual with methamphetamine. In April 2012, during a traffic stop, Idaho State Police found more than 50 grams of actual methamphetamine Rodriguez was hiding on her person. According to the plea agreement, Rodriguez admitted she possessed the methamphetamine intending to distribute it to others.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), including the Idaho State Police, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Bonneville County Sheriff's Office, Idaho Falls Police Department, Madison County Sheriff's Office, Rexburg Police Department, Bingham County Sheriff’s Office, Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Other federal agencies participating in the OCDETF program include the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Marshals Service.
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.