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Press Release

Public Land Marijuana Grower Sentenced to 97 Months in Federal Prison

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

BOISE - Martin Diaz-Lara, 33, a Mexican National, illegally residing in Walla Walla, Washington, was sentenced today to 97 months in prison for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and 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.  Chief United States District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also ordered Diaz- Lara to serve three years of supervised release.  Diaz-Lara will likely be deported to Mexico following completion of his prison sentence.  Diaz-Lara pleaded guilty on March 8, 2016.

According to court documents, Diaz Lara was arrested on September 23, 2015, along with a co-conspirator Carlos Avalos-Cervantes, 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 a 9 mm handgun in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime.  Agents discovered that Diaz-Lara and others 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.  The court documents also state that the marijuana operation was supported and supplied by other co-defendants.  All of those responsible for the public land outdoor marijuana grow are Mexican nationals who entered the United States illegally. 

Co-defendant Avalos-Cervantes pleaded guilty to the same charges as Diaz-Lara and 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.  Trial for the remaining defendants is scheduled for July 18, 2016, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill.

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.

Updated June 15, 2016

Drug Trafficking