News and Press Releases

Canyon County Gang Member Sentenced to Hard Time
for Gun Crime

December 20, 2012

Armed Career Criminal Gets 20 Years in Federal Prison

BOISE – Martin Cantu Ruiz, 31, of Nampa, Idaho, was sentenced today in United States District Court in Boise to 240 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a sawed-off shotgun, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also ordered Ruiz to serve five years of supervised release and pay a $1,500 fine. Ruiz was also ordered to not have contact with gang members or gang paraphernalia. He was convicted by a federal jury on September 11, 2012.

During the two-day trial, the jury heard evidence that on March 23, 2011, a search warrant was served on a residence in Nampa, Idaho, where officers discovered a 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun with an obliterated serial number in a closet. The search warrant was issued after Ruiz was suspected of shooting a man in Payette two days earlier, on March 21. Ruiz was arrested during execution of the search warrant and has remained in custody since that date.

According to court records, Ruiz had previously been convicted of felony assault and felony possession of a firearm in Oregon; and aiding and abetting aggravated battery and battery on a correctional officer in Idaho. Ruiz also had previously been convicted of four other crimes of violence. Ruiz is a member of the Northerners gang in Ontario, Oregon. Because Ruiz has three or more violent felony convictions, he was deemed to be an armed career criminal subject to a mandatory minimum term of 15 years up to life in prison.

“Violent felons like Mr. Ruiz, who pose a serious danger to our community, will be prosecuted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms if they are found to possess firearms,” said Olson. “Local and federal law enforcement will work together to ensure that our communities are protected from these dangerous individuals.”

The case was investigated by the Payette Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Ruiz was prosecuted as part of Idaho’s Project Safe Neighborhoods Program, which seeks to reduce gun violence in Idaho.