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Press Release

Marijuana Grower Pleads Guilty

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Idaho

BOISE - Carlos Avalos-Cervantes, 31, of Walla Walla, WA, and originally from Mexico, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to manufacture a controlled substance with intent to distribute it, the substance being more than 1,000 marijuana plants; and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.  Avalos-Cervantes was charged by superseding indictment on December 8, 2015.

According to court documents, Avalos-Cervantes was arrested on September 23, 2015, along with a co-conspirator Martin Diaz-Lara, in a remote, timbered canyon north of Banks, in Boise County, Idaho.  Agents were able to document a total of 6,870 live and harvested marijuana plants on state lands in the canyon.  According to court proceedings, Avalos-Cervantes and his co-conspirator each possessed a 9mm handgun in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime.  The court documents also state that the marijuana operation was supported and supplied by other co-defendants.  Avalos-Cervantes and his co-conspirator are Mexican nationals who entered the United States illegally. 

Diaz-Lara, along with co-defendants Javier Avila-Contreras, Rogelio Arevalo-Villasenor, and David Becerra-Saucedo are scheduled for trial on April 19, 2016, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill.

The maximum penalty for manufacturing more than 1,000 marijuana plants with intent to distribute the drug is not less than 10 years and may extend up to life in prison, as well as a $10,000,000 fine.  The maximum penalty for possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes is not less than five years imprisonment consecutive to any other penalty, and a $250,000 fine. 

The arrests and complaints are the result of a joint investigation and cooperative law enforcement efforts of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Nampa Police Department Special Investigations Unit (SIU).  Other agencies include Ada County Sheriff’s Office, United States Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Boise County Sheriff’s Office, Boise Police Department, Gooding County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Idaho National Guard—Counterdrug Support Office, Meridian Police Department, Milton-Freewater Police Department, Oregon State Police, Power County Sheriff’s Office, Spokane Police Department, Valley County Sheriff’s Office, Walla Walla Police Department, and Washington State Patrol.

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.

 

Updated February 2, 2016

Topic
Drug Trafficking
Component