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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

District of Idaho

For Immediate Release

April 5, 2011

Wendy J. Olson, United States Attorney

Contact: Pamela Bearg, Public Information Officer
(208) 478-4166

Two Mexican Nationals Convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine

Andres Collado–Rojas, 20, and Veronica Cruz–Jimenez, 34, Mexican nationals residing in Nampa, Idaho, were convicted today by a federal jury in Pocatello of conspiracy to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.

During the seven–day trial, the jury heard evidence that between October 2009 and August 2010, Collado–Rojas and Cruz–Jimenez conspired with co–defendants, led by Jose Penaloza–Paramo, to participate in a drug trafficking organization responsible for the distribution of multiple pounds of methamphetamine in Ada, Canyon, Bannock and Franklin counties.

A conviction for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine is punishable from 10 years to life in prison, a $4 million fine, and a minimum of five years of supervised release. The conviction for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance is punishable by a term of imprisonment from ten years to life, a $4 million fine and a minimum of five years of supervised release.

Sentencing is set for July 18, 2011, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Pocatello, Idaho.

These convictions underscore federal, state and local law enforcement’s commitment to aggressively prosecute the drug traffickers who damage our communities, prey upon Idahoans and cause damage that ripples through our state, said Olson. Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and its partners will use all lawful means to bring to justice and seek punishment for those who traffic in it.

To date, five other co–defendants have agreed to plead guilty to various charges related to their role in the conspiracy, including Mexican nationals Jose Penaloza–Paramo, 31, and Luis Angel Cruz–Jimenez, 28, both of Caldwell, Idaho; Diego Vega–Corona, 41, address unknown; and Julio Medina–Pena, 45, Parma, Idaho. Julio Jimenez–Morales, 26, of Franklin, Idaho, pleaded guilty on March 28 and is scheduled to be sentenced in Pocatello on June 7.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Idaho State Police, Canyon County Sheriff’s Office, Ada County Sheriff’s Office, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The investigation was the result of a joint investigation of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). 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.