Mexican National Sentenced to 18 Months in Federal Prison for Conspiracy to Manufacture Marijuana
BOISE – Rogelio Arevalo-Villasenor, 24, a Mexican national, illegally residing in Parma, Idaho, was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for conspiracy to manufacture a controlled substance, more than 1,000 marijuana plants, with the intent to distribute it, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Visiting Senior U.S. District Judge Dee V. Benson also ordered Arevalo-Villasenor to serve one year of supervised release. Arevalo-Villasenor will likely be deported to Mexico following completion of his prison sentence. Arevalo-Villasenor pleaded guilty on July 14, 2016.
According to court documents, co-defendant Martin Diaz-Lara and Carlos Avalos-Cervantes were arrested on September 23, 2015, in a canyon half a mile from the North Fork of Payette River, ten miles 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, Diaz-Lara and Avalos-Cervantes each possessed handguns in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime. Agents discovered that those working in the grow used a banned Mexican pesticide, carbofuran. Carbofuran was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1991, after its use resulted in the death of millions of birds per year. Arevalo-Villasenor admitted to supplying Diaz-Lara, Avalos-Cervantes and other workers with groceries on at least three occasions, by dropping off food and supplies at the trailhead located just off Highway 55. All of those responsible for the public land outdoor marijuana grow are Mexican nationals who entered the United States illegally.
Co-defendants Avalos-Cervantes and Diaz-Lara pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Avalos-Cervantes was sentenced on April 19, 2016 to 180 months in prison. Avalos-Cervantes was believed to have been involved in another public land marijuana grow in Umatilla County, Oregon in 2007. Diaz-Lara was sentenced to 97 months in prison on June 15, 2016.
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), 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.