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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Idaho

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Star Man Sentenced To More Than Twenty Years In Federal Prison For Drug Conspiracy And Shooting Someone In Furtherance Of The Conspiracy

Two Defendants Sentenced in Large Drug Case

BOISE – U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced sentencing of Jeramie Ethan Mahler, 27, of Star, Idaho, and Carlos Eberardo Tovar, 28, of Nampa, Idaho. U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge sentenced Mahler to 247 months in prison for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and for discharging a firearm in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime. He pleaded guilty to the charges on March 3, 2014. Judge Lodge sentenced Tovar to 87 months in prison for distributing methamphetamine. He pleaded guilty to the charge on March 3, 2014.

Mahler admitted that he and other co-defendants agreed to distribute methamphetamine beginning in approximately January 2013. Mahler and others continued to distribute methamphetamine for several months. Mahler admitted that the conspiracy involved over 500 grams of methamphetamine. Mahler faced a ten-year mandatory minimum sentence for the drug conspiracy because of the large amount of methamphetamine involved. Mahler also admitted that he shot another person on March 25, 2013, in furtherance of the drug conspiracy, because of a dispute with that person about the quality of the methamphetamine. The shooting occurred alongside a road in south Ada County near Amity and Linder roads. Mahler and two co-defendants fled the scene leaving the injured man behind. A Canyon County Sheriff’s deputy stopped a vehicle that Mahler was driving eight days later, on April 2, 2013. Mahler was arrested and the vehicle was searched. Inside, deputies found two handguns and approximately one-quarter pound of methamphetamine. A forensic examination later confirmed that one of the handguns located in the vehicle was the same gun used in the shooting on March 25. Mahler faced a consecutive mandatory sentence of ten years for discharging the firearm in furtherance of the conspiracy. In addition to the 250 month prison sentence, Mahler was sentenced to five years of supervised release.

According to court documents, Tovar conspired with Mahler and others to distribute methamphetamine. Tovar sold methamphetamine to an undercover police officer on several occasions. On February 7, 2013, Tovar sold the officer approximately four ounces of methamphetamine for $3,700. The Drug Enforcement Administration later tested the methamphetamine and determined it was 99% pure.

Co-defendant Juan Luis Mojica-Barragan will be sentenced on May 21, 2014, for his part in the conspiracy. He pleaded guilty on February 27, 2014. The charge that Mojica-Barragan pleaded guilty to is punishable by up to twenty years in prison, a $1 million fine, and at least three years of supervised release.

Mahler, Tovar, Mojica-Barragan, and eight other individuals were indicted on July 9, 2013, in a case including charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, distribution of cocaine, and unlawful possession of firearms. The defendants are responsible for distributing pounds of methamphetamine within the community. During the investigation, law enforcement agents seized twelve firearms, including a stolen firearm, and an illegal fully-automatic machine gun. All eleven defendants have pleaded guilty. Co-defendants Wendy Harrison and Bobbi Eileen Woolsey were both sentenced to 84 months in prison; Nearia Pinnell was sentenced to 33 months in prison; Daniel Vaughan was sentenced to 80 months in prison; Darrell Zirschky was sentenced to 168 months in prison; and Michelle Ritch was sentenced to 120 months. Mojica-Barragan, Hernan Gomez-Gutierrez, and Scott Hernandez have not been sentenced yet.

The case was investigated by the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crimes Task Force, which 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. Other agencies that contributed to this investigation include the Drug Enforcement Administration, Nampa Police Department, Caldwell Police Department, Canyon County Sheriff’s Office, and Ada County Sheriff’s Office.

The case is 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.

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Updated December 15, 2014