Many go to prison in drug cases this week

POSTED: 05:12 PM MST Dec 05, 2013 

Numerous people were sentenced to prison in U.S. District Court this week in various eastern Idaho drug-related cases, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Idaho announced Thursday.

Rodriguez and Echeverria

Erica Rodriguez, 33, of Idaho Falls, was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for possession to with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine. She was also ordered to pay a $750 fine.

Marco Antonio Echeverria, 25, also of Idaho Falls, was sentenced Thursday to eight years in prison for distributing methamphetamine. Echeverria was also ordered to serve five years of supervised release and to pay a $1,000 fine.

Both pleaded guilty in August.

Rodriguez and Echeverria were members of an eastern Idaho drug-trafficking ring that was active from November 2009 to October 2012.

Sentenced in October were Benito Joya, 58, of Rigby, who got 10 years behind bars, and Misti Chapman, 30, of Idaho Falls, who got a year and a half. The leader, Jorge Fausto Urias, 32, of Idaho Falls, got the most severe sentence: 35 years in prison, as he used guns and threats to carry out his criminal activities, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

To be sentenced later in December is Juan Carlos Garcia, 36.

Herrera

Isidoro David Herrera, 32, of Idaho Falls, was the 13th person to be sentenced in an eastern Idaho drug ring.

Herrera was sentenced Thursday to eight years in prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute in excess of 50 grams of methamphetamine and five years of supervised release. He pleaded guilty in January.

The group was active from June 2005 through January 2012. In addition to distributing meth in the Idaho Falls area, several defendants laundered proceeds from the sales and made false loan application to local banks to further the laundering of money, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. The defendants got more than $500,000 from dealing in meth.

All but one of Herrera's co-defendants have been sentenced already:

Another person allegedly involved in the case, Guadalupe Meraz, 42, of Madera, Calif., is a fugitive.

Merrill, Pfeaster and Ross

James Argyle Merrill, 38, and Dalyn Ray Pfeaster, 46, both of Pocatello, were sentenced Thursday in federal court for distributing methamphetamine. Merrill got three years and Pfeaster got four months in prison. Both will serve three years of supervised release following their prison sentence.

Both pleaded guilty in August to incidents that occurred in January.

Co-defendant Kyle Mark Ross, 28, of Pocatello was sentenced to a period of time served and three years of supervised release for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Rodriguez-Sanchez and Garcia

Josue Rodriguez-Sanchez, 25, of Idaho Falls, and Fernando Garcia, 31, of Logan, Utah, were sentenced to prison this week.

On Tuesday, Rodriguez-Sanchez got 10 years in prison and five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine. He pleaded guilty in August.

On Thursday, Garcia got 10 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute a small amount of cocaine. He pleaded guilty in September.

Rodriguez-Sanchez admitted that between November 2010 and January 2011, he distributed cocaine and meth in the Idaho Falls area. He also said that in total, he distributed more than 50 grams of meth and that he received the narcotics from various co-defendants.

Garcia admitted that in April 2011, he arranged to sell and delivered cocaine to someone in Idaho Falls for $1,150.

Co-defendant Julian Vega-Valdez, 25, a Mexican national, will be sentenced in January.