Leader of the Drug Organization Gets 35 Year Prison Sentence
POCATELLO – U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced today that three co-defendants—Fausto Enrique Urias, Benito Vasquez Joya and Misti Chapman—were sentenced to serve federal prison sentences for their involvement in an Eastern Idaho meth trafficking operation. The defendants appeared before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Pocatello.
Fausto Urias, 32, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was sentenced today to 35 years in prison followed by ten years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine. Judge Winmill ordered Urias to forfeit $100,000 to the United States and imposed a $5,000 fine. Urias’ sentence was the result of the court finding the defendant responsible for a significant amount of methamphetamine and that the defendant was the leader/organizer of a criminal organization. Additionally, the court found that the defendant possessed guns in connection with the offense, and that the defendant used violence and threats of violence in carrying out the offense. Finally, the court found that the offense constituted a pattern of criminal conduct from which the defendant derived his livelihood.
Urias’ co-defendant, Benito Joya, 58, of Rigby Idaho, was sentenced on Wednesday to 121 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine.
Misti Chapman, 30, of Idaho Falls, was sentenced yesterday to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and 80 hours of community service for distribution of methamphetamine. Chapman was also charged with violating a previously imposed term of supervised release. She was sentenced to 21 months in prison concurrent with the sentenced imposed for the drug offense, for a total term of incarceration of 21 months.
In addition to Urias, Joya and Chapman, three other individuals charged in the federal indictment, all from Idaho Falls, pleaded guilty in August 2013 to related drug trafficking offenses. Marco Antonio Echeverria, 25, will be sentenced on December 5 for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; Erica Rodriguez, 33, will be sentenced on December 4 for possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine; and Juan Carlos Garcia, 36, will be sentenced on December 16 for conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine.
According to plea agreements filed in the case, between November 2009 and October 23, 2012, Urias and Garcia conspired to possess and distribute methamphetamine to other individuals in the Idaho Falls area. Urias and Garcia were previously convicted of felony possession of a controlled substance in Bonneville County, Idaho, on November 9, 2004, and June 7, 2005, respectively.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), including the Idaho State Police, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Bonneville County Sheriff's Office, Idaho Falls Police Department, Madison County Sheriff's Office, Rexburg Police Department, Bingham County Sheriff’s Office, Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Other federal agencies participating in the OCDETF program include the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Marshals Service.
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.