News and Press Releases

Magic Valley Bar Owner Sentenced to 188 Months in Federal Prison

June 08, 2012

Third Person Sentenced in Meth Trafficking Conspiracy

BOISE – Jesus Manuel Fontes, 52, of Jerome, Idaho, was sentenced today to 188 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge also ordered Fontes to serve five years of supervised release following his prison term and pay a $1,000 fine. Fontes agreed to forfeit cash proceeds of $25,000 and the Durango Bar, which is located at 250 West Main Street in Jerome. Fontes pleaded guilty to the charge on March 5, 2012.

According to the plea agreement and arguments made at sentencing today, Fonte, the owner and operator of the Durango Bar in Jerome, was a manager and supervisor of a drug trafficking organization that distributed multiple pounds of high-purity methamphetamine throughout the Magic Valley. At the time of his arrest, Fontes was in possession of a handgun, cash and methamphetamine. Five additional firearms were recovered from his residence. A search of a residence used by Fontes found almost two pounds of 100% pure methamphetamine hidden in a crawlspace under a bedroom. According to the plea agreement, Fontes conducted drug transactions at his bar during the course of the conspiracy and sold a firearm.

Co-defendant Rocendo Lara was sentenced to 60 months in prison on December 6, 2011. Co-defendant Francisco Garcia was sentenced to 30 months in prison on January 11, 2012. Both men are Mexican nationals. A third co-defendant, Manuel Guerrero, is a fugitive from justice.

“In their quest for illegal profits, local organizations and individuals continue to bring this dangerously addictive drug into our communities,” said Olson. “We are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to use all available resources to investigate and prosecute those who traffic in methamphetamine and other illegal drugs.@

The case was investigated by the Idaho State Police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.