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Meth ring leader gets 2 decades in prison

Two more members of a massive eastern Idaho methamphetamine trafficking organization were sentenced to federal prison sentences Thursday.

Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill sentenced Samuel Nevarez-Ayon, 26, a Mexican national formerly living in Rexburg, to 24 years, four months in prison for his leadership role in the conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. In addition, the court ordered a $4,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, and the forfeiture of $500,000. He pleaded guilty to the charge of continuing criminal enterprise Dec. 19, 2012.

Also sentenced was Nicolas Levi Olsen, 30, of Idaho Falls. He got five years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Olsen was also ordered to pay a $500 fine, and a $100 special assessment. He pleaded guilty to an information on Jan. 24, 2013.

Eight co-defendants were sentenced in March and April on related drug trafficking charges:

— Ricardo Garcia Lopez, of Idaho Falls, to 19 years, seven months in prison.
— Alberto Abarca, of Idaho Falls, to 10 years, 10 months.
— Rafael Ignacio Guerrero, a Mexican national, to three years, six months.
— Antonio Javier Mendoza, of Shelley, to eight years.
— Fabiola Esmerelda Marin Castro, a Mexican national, to three years and ordered to forfeit $83,575 and two vehicles.
— Daniel Quiroz, a Mexican national, to six years, six months.
— Abel Garcia, of Idaho Falls, was sentenced to one month in prison for making a false statement to a bank.
— Ana Rosa Valdez-Ceja, of Shelley, was sentenced to two years’ probation for money laundering.

Three co-defendants from Idaho Falls are set for sentencing in September:

— Juan Ortiz, Jr., 28, and Isidoro David Herrera, 31, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute in excess of 50 grams of methamphetamine.
— Everado Tapia Torres, Jr., 31, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute 5 grams or more of methamphetamine.

The final defendant, Guadalupe Meraz, of Madera, California, is a fugitive, the attorney’s office said.

“Justice is well served by Nevarez-Ayon’s prison sentence of more than 24 years,” said Olson. “For years, he was the pivot point in wholesale methamphetamine trafficking in eastern Idaho. This successful investigation and prosecution demonstrate that federal, state and local law enforcement in Idaho will work together to remove those who bring this dangerously addictive drug to our communities.”

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