Guilty Plea in Norteno Investigation
Nampa Woman Pleads Guilty to Distributing Meth
BOISE – Veronica Cantu, 27, of Nampa, Idaho, pleaded guilty today in United States District Court to distributing methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Cantu was indicted by a federal grand jury on November 14, 2014. She was a fugitive with an outstanding warrant for her arrest until she was arrested in Michigan in November 2015.
According to the plea agreement, the co-defendant, Tara Rivera, unwittingly arranged to distribute methamphetamine to a person working with law enforcement as an informant. When the informant arrived to purchase the methamphetamine, Rivera introduced the informant to Cantu, who was also present. Cantu then sold the informant approximately one-quarter ounce of methamphetamine.
The charge of distributing methamphetamine is punishable by up to twenty years of imprisonment, a maximum fine of $1 million, and a minimum term of three years supervised release.
Cantu is scheduled to be sentenced on July 20, 2016, by Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise.
Cantu was charged as a result of an investigation by the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crimes Task Force, which focused on the “Norteno” Northside gang that is active in Nampa and other parts of the Treasure Valley. Fourteen individuals were indicted on drug and gun charges as a result of the investigation. So far, twelve defendants have been sentenced. Guadalupe Serrano, 35, of Caldwell, was sentenced on April 21, 2015, to 75 months in prison for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and for possessing firearms in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime. Nicole Danelle Nieto, 31, of Nampa, was sentenced on May 26, 2015, to 41 months in prison for distributing methamphetamine. Jose Manuel Menchaca, 35, of Nampa, was sentenced May 28, 2015, to 60 months in prison for distributing methamphetamine. On June 17, 2015, Brandi Larrea, 31, of Nampa, was sentenced to 48 months in prison for distributing methamphetamine and Tara Noelle Rivera, 30, of Nampa, was sentenced to 24 months in prison for distributing methamphetamine. Johnny Lee Martinez, 33, of Nampa, was sentenced on July 20, 2015, to 57 months in prison for distributing methamphetamine. Michael David Bradshaw, 31, of Nampa, was sentenced on August 6, 2015, to 66 months in prison for distributing methamphetamine. Kenny P. Breedlove, 35, of Porterville, California, was sentenced on October 22, 2015, to 110 months for possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Guillermo Farias Jr., 29, of Nampa, was sentenced on October 26, 2015, to time served and three years of supervised release for his role in assisting with methamphetamine distribution. Richard Lobato, 51, of Nampa, was sentenced on December 3, 2015, to 60 months in prison for distributing methamphetamine. Jose Enrique Olvera Jr., 51, of Nampa, was sentenced on January 20, 2016, to 84 months in prison for possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and unlawful possession of firearms. Isaac Bright, 21, of Caldwell, was on February 3, 2016, to 27 months in prison for unlawful possession of a firearm. The last remaining defendant, Ruben Rodriguez, 36, of Nampa, has a warrant outstanding for his arrest.
These cases are the result of a joint investigation by the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crime Task Force and the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crime Task Force 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. The Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), includes 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 OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations.
These cases are being prosecuted by 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.