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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 19, 2014

Two Men Plead Guilty In Cases Involving Guns And Drugs

BOISE – U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced guilty pleas in two separate cases prosecuted by the Special Assistant U.S. Attorney hired by the Treasure Valley Partnership and State of Idaho to address gang crimes. Nathan John Vert, 30, of Caldwell, Idaho, pleaded guilty today in United States District Court to unlawfully possessing a firearm. In a separate case, Esteban Villegas-Gamez, 39, a Mexican national living in Bellevue, Idaho, pleaded guilty today to distribution of methamphetamine.

At today’s hearing, Vert admitted that he unlawfully possessed a 12-gauge shotgun. Vert was involved in a traffic accident on October 21, 2013. Officers with the Nampa Police Department arrived at the scene. During the investigation of the traffic accident, officers discovered a 12-gauge shotgun inside the vehicle that Vert was driving. Vert was prohibited from possessing firearms because he was previously convicted of the felony crime of delivery of a controlled substance in 2003 in Canyon County, Idaho.

The charge is punishable by up to ten years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. The government is seeking forfeiture of the firearm. Vert is scheduled to be sentenced on July 28, 2014, by U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Boise.

The case was investigated by the Nampa Police Department and Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crimes Task Force. The Metro 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.

Villegas-Gamez, who also pleaded guilty today, admitted he sold methamphetamine and firearms to a person assisting law enforcement as a confidential informant. Villegas-Gamez sold the informant methamphetamine and firearms on numerous occasions beginning in November 2013 until January 2014. Villegas-Gamez admitted that the combined total he sold the informant during the different transactions was in excess of 50 grams of methamphetamine.

The charge is punishable by up to twenty years in prison, a maximum fine of $1 million, and at least three years of supervised release. Villegas-Gamez is set for sentencing on August 11, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Boise.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and Blaine County Narcotics Enforcement Team. Other agencies that assisted with the investigation include the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) and Idaho State Police. The Blaine County Narcotics Enforcement Team includes the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office, Sun Valley Police Department, Hailey Police Department, Ketchum Police Department, and Bellevue Marshal’s Office.

Both 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.

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Updated December 15, 2014