More Guilty Pleas in Federal Case Involving Drug and Gun Crimes
Star Man Admits Shooting Person in Furtherance of the Drug Trafficking Crime
BOISE – Jeramie Ethan Mahler, 27, of Star, Idaho, pleaded guilty today in United States District Court to one count of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and another count that he discharged a firearm in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.
According to the plea agreement and information presented in court, Mahler admitted that he and other co-defendants agreed to distribute methamphetamine beginning in approximately January 2013. Mahler and others continued to distribute methamphetamine for several months. Mahler admitted that on March 25, 2013, he shot another person during a dispute with that person about the quality of the methamphetamine. The shooting occurred alongside a road in south Ada County near Amity and Linder roads. Mahler and two co-defendants fled the scene leaving the injured man behind. Eight days later, on April 2, a Canyon County Sheriff’s deputy stopped a vehicle that Mahler was driving. Mahler was arrested and the vehicle was searched. Inside, deputies found two handguns and approximately one-quarter pound of methamphetamine. A forensic examination later confirmed that one of the handguns located in the vehicle was the same gun used in the shooting on March 25.
The charge of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine is punishable by a minimum term of ten years and a maximum of life in prison, a maximum fine of $10 million, and at least five years of supervised release. Discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime is punishable by a minimum term of ten years up to life in prison and must be imposed consecutively to the other sentence, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to five years of supervised release.
Co-defendant Carlos Eberardo Tovar, 29, of Nampa, also pleaded guilty today to two counts of distributing methamphetamine. Tovar admitted that he sold methamphetamine to an undercover police officer on several occasions. The charge of distributing methamphetamine is punishable by up to twenty years in prison, a maximum fine of $1 million, and at least three years of supervised release.
Mahler and Tovar are scheduled to be sentenced on May 20, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Boise.
A federal grand jury indicted Mahler, Tovar and nine other defendants on July 9, 2013. The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired together to distribute methamphetamine. It also contains additional charges alleging distribution of methamphetamine, distribution of cocaine, and unlawful possession of a firearm. All eleven defendants have pleaded guilty.
Co-defendant Bobbi Eileen Woolsey, 36, of Boise, is set for sentencing tomorrow for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. She pleaded guilty to the charge on December 2, 2013.
Olson noted that when Mahler is sentenced in May, he will be at least the ninth person to be sentenced in the District of Idaho on both drug and gun charges this year. “Drugs and guns are a dangerous combination,” said Olson. “In Idaho, federal law enforcement officers in conjunction with their state and local partners, vigorously investigate dangerous persons who use and possess firearms in violation of federal gun laws. Our goal is simple: to keep guns away from violent individuals and to keep our community safe.”
Olson also stated that so far in 2014, five other persons had been sentenced for or pleaded guilty to federal statutes that prohibit possession of a firearm by a convicted felon or possession of an unlawful firearm such as a sawed-off shotgun. In 2013, seven defendants were sentenced in Idaho federal courts on both drug and gun charges; nineteen for being prohibited persons in possession of a firearm; eight for possessing unlawful and unregistered weapons; eight for using firearms in crimes of violence; and one for stealing firearms. In 2012, ten defendants were sentenced in Idaho federal courts on both drug and gun charges; twenty-four for being prohibited persons in possession of a firearm; five for possessing unlawful and unregistered weapons; ten for using firearms in crimes of violence; and two for stealing firearms. According to Olson, all of these cases involved either the joint investigative efforts of federal and state or tribal law enforcement or the investigative efforts of federally sponsored task forces that include state, local and tribal law enforcement officers.
“The coordination and cooperation of federal, state and local law enforcement officers is critical to proper and effective enforcement of laws that keep bad guys off of ours streets, and guns and drugs out of their hands,” said Olson. “I commend in this case the outstanding work of the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crimes Task Force and Special Assistant United States Attorney Chris Atwood.”
The case was investigated by the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crimes Task Force, which is comprised of federal, state and local agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Boise Police Department; Ada County Sheriff’s Office; Caldwell Police Department; Nampa Police Department; Meridian Police Department; Canyon County Sheriff’s Office; and Idaho Department of Probation and Parole. Other agencies that contributed to this investigation include the Drug Enforcement Administration, Nampa Police Department, Caldwell Police Department, Canyon County Sheriff’s Office, and Ada County Sheriff’s Office.
The case is being prosecuted by the Special Assistant U.S. Attorney hired by the Treasure Valley Partnership and the State of Idaho to address gang crimes. Since 2007, over 255 defendants have been prosecuted in Federal Court through the Gang SAUSA program. 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.