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Five charged in eastern Idaho drug trafficking conspiracy

As part of an investigation called “Operation Walkabout”, multiple law enforcement agencies served search warrants and federal arrest warrants at various locations in Idaho Falls shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Two men and one woman were arrested on federal drug trafficking charges, including conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. United States Attorney Wendy J. Olson said the seven count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury Oct. 23 and unsealed by the court Tuesday.

Five Idaho Falls people were named in the indictment. The defendants arrested in Idaho Falls this morning were 31-year-old Fausto Enrique Urias (also known as Slick Rick), 35-year-old Juan Carlos Garcia (aka Shadow), and 29-year-old Misti Chapman.

The indictment also named 24-year-old Marco Antonio Echeverria (aka Winks) and 32-year-old Erica Rodriguez. Echeverria and Rodriguez are currently in custody on state and local charges.

Urias, Garcia, and Chapman are scheduled for arraignment Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald E. Bush at the federal courthouse in Pocatello.

Search warrants and arrest warrants were served at three locations in Idaho Falls: 1050 9th St., 1088 Halsey, and 4145 N. 26th West.

Olson said the charges are the result of a long-term investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Today’s arrests bring the total number of defendants federally charged in the operation to 21.

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.

The charge of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance is punishable by at least 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and a minimum term of five years of supervised release. Olsen said the government is seeking forfeiture of currency and assets derived from the drug trafficking offenses.

The agencies involved in the investigation included the FBI, Idaho State Police, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, and the Idaho Falls Police Department. Also assisting were the Drug Enforcement Administration, Madison, Jefferson, and Fremont County Sheriff’s Offices, Rexburg Police Department, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

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