BOISE – Justin Gomez, 29, of Barstow, California, was convicted yesterday evening by a federal jury of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, Acting U.S. Attorney Rafael Gonzalez, announced. The jury’s decision came after a two-day trial in federal court in Boise. Gomez, who has two prior felony drug convictions, now faces mandatory life in federal prison.
According to evidence presented at trial, Justin Gomez and Salvador Gonzalez traveled from Southern California to Boise, Idaho, to distribute a large quantity of methamphetamine. Local and federal law enforcement officers discovered the conspiracy and intervened. On September 11, 2015, both defendants were arrested in Meridian, Idaho, with over two pounds of pure methamphetamine in their possession.
In October 2015, a Boise grand jury indicted both Gomez and Gonzalez for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Gonzalez ultimately pleaded guilty. He was later sentenced to 120 months in prison. Gomez elected to go to trial. He was found guilty late yesterday.
Gomez’s sentencing is scheduled for July 6, 2017, before Senior U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Boise. Gomez has several prior felony convictions including a crime of violence, drug trafficking, and gang enhancements. Because Gomez has at least two prior felony drug convictions and was convicted of possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, he will be sentenced to a mandatory life term of imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Ada County Sheriff’s Office.
The case was prosecuted by the Special Assistant U.S. Attorney hired by the Ada County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office with funds provided by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program. HIDTA is part of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. It provides assistance to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States. Idaho is part of the Oregon-Idaho HIDTA. HIDTA in southwest Idaho is a collaboration of local, multi-jurisdictional law enforcement drug task forces, and prosecuting agencies dedicated to addressing regional drug trafficking organizations that operate in Ada, Canyon, and Malheur County.