Monday, April 8, 2013

Leader of Southwest Idaho Meth Trafficking Conspiracy Sentenced to Over 33 Years in Federal Prison

BOISE – Jesus Guadalupe Sanchez, a/k/a Jose Salazar, 32, a Mexican national, the leader and organizer of a major Southwest Idaho drug trafficking conspiracy, was sentenced today to 400 months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Following his release from prison, Sanchez must serve five years of supervised release; he also faces possible deportation.

Co-conspirator Michael Dennis Morris, 42, of Weiser, Idaho, was also sentenced today to 156 months in prison followed by eight years of supervised release. The court also ordered Morris to pay a $2,000 fine. The two appeared before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise. To date, fourteen defendants have been sentenced in the case.

On January 22, 2013, following a six-day trial, a federal jury convicted Sanchez, Morris and co-defendant Jim Allen Loveland of conspiring with others, including co-defendants, to distribute a total of approximately eleven pounds of methamphetamine in Canyon, Payette and Washington counties between November 2011 and May 16, 2012.

Eight defendants were sentenced in February and March 2013 to serve federal prison sentences, including Dawson Lee Moore, of Weiser, to 36 months in prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine; Benjamine L. Vertner, of Ontario, Oregon, to 138 months; Patric Campbell, of Boise, 124 months; Kristopher Hensley, of Weiser, to 51 months; Johnny A. Tambunga, of Weiser, to 47 months; Jacob James Clevenger, of Weiser, to 188 months; Mario Martinez, Jr., of Greenleaf, Idaho, to 57 months; and Fabian Jordano Beltran, of Weiser, to 36 months.

Loveland, 58, of Boise, Idaho, the sole remaining defendant, is set for sentencing on May 23, 2013.

“These drug traffickers well deserve the lengthy sentences the Court imposed,” said Olson. “This outstanding investigation and prosecution demonstrate that federal, state and local law enforcement will work together in all parts of Idaho to ensure that those who seek to poison our communities with this poisonous drug are caught, prosecuted and punished.”

The case was investigated by the Idaho State Police with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).