Three People Sentenced in Connection with Aryan Knights Case
BOISE – U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced today that three individuals charged in connection with the Aryan Knights investigation were sentenced in United States District Court in Boise this week. The three sentences are the first to occur out of 23 separate individuals charged in the investigation.
Rory Vincent Palma, 38, of Tempe, Arizona, was sentenced to 41 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for unlawful possession of a firearm. Palma, who has three prior felony convictions, and has twice previously been convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm, sold a shotgun to a confidential informant. Palma pleaded guilty to the charge on October 30, 2012.
Joshua Trent, 32, of Boise, Idaho, was sentenced to 51 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for possessing an unregistered firearm. Trent pleaded guilty to the charge on November 19, 2012. Trent admitted that on May 7, 2012, he was in possession of two sawed-off shotguns, which he then sold to a confidential informant. Trent was also prohibited from possessing the shotguns because he was previously convicted of the felony crime of aggravated assault in 2000.
Christina Massie, 35, of Boise, was sentenced to 30 months followed by three years of supervised release for unlawful possession of a firearm. Massie pleaded guilty to the charge on December 5, 2012. Massie admitted that she assisted co-defendant Joshua Trent in the sale of two sawed-off shotguns to a confidential informant. Massie was prohibited from possessing firearms because she was previously convicted of two felony crimes for controlled substance violations.
These three defendants were among 23 people charged as a result of a long term investigation by the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crimes Task Force. The investigation began when the task force focused on illegal drug distribution by the “Aryan Knights,” a gang active both in prison and on the streets throughout Idaho. Through the investigation, law enforcement agents identified Aryan Knights gang members who were trafficking methamphetamine, as well as associates of the gang who were the source of that methamphetamine.
Of the 23 individuals charged, 16 have pleaded guilty, two have signed plea agreements but not yet entered guilty pleas, and five are still set for trial.
The joint investigation by the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) included the cooperative law enforcement efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and U.S. Marshals Service. The Twin Falls Police Department, Twin Falls Sheriff’s Office, Idaho State Police, and District 3 Probation and Parole also participated in the investigation.
The Palma case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian Nafzger; Trent and Massie are being prosecuted by Christopher Atwood, the Special Assistant U.S. Attorney hired by the Treasure Valley Partnership and the State of Idaho to address gang crimes. The Treasure Valley Partnership is comprised of a group of elected officials in southwest Idaho dedicated to regional coordination, cooperation, and collaboration on creating coherent regional growth. For more information, visit treasurevalleypartners.org.
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.