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Pocatello woman sentenced to 15 years for methamphetamine, fentanyl distribution

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POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) – A 38-year-old Pocatello woman was sentenced to 188 months in federal prison for possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and fentanyl, U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit announced Thursday.

According to court records, on Feb. 4, 2023, Helen Lorraine Monaco and her husband and co-defendant 43-year-old Jonathan Monaco were traveling from California to Idaho when their vehicle was stopped by law enforcement in Washoe County, Nevada. Law enforcement initially found 65 grams of methamphetamine in the vehicle along with fentanyl, marijuana and a digital scale. Monaco and her husband were arrested and booked into the Washoe County Jail. While in jail, law enforcement obtained a search warrant to re-search the vehicle and found an additional 4,000 fentanyl pills and more than two pounds of methamphetamine hidden in a void behind the spare tire. Investigators gathered additional evidence that Monaco and her husband were working with co-defendant 46-year-old Eric Weimer of Pocatello, in the distribution of methamphetamine and fentanyl in southeast Idaho, and elsewhere.

Senior U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also ordered Monaco to be placed on supervised release for five years following her prison sentence. Monaco pleaded guilty to the charge on Dec. 11, 2023.

Co-defendant Jonathan Monaco entered a guilty plea to the charge of possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, and fentanyl, on Feb. 1, 2024, and is scheduled to be sentenced before Judge Winmill on May 7, 2024. Weimer entered a guilty plea to the charge of possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and fentanyl on Feb. 1, 2024, and is set to be sentenced before Judge Winmill on May 8, 2024.

“Fentanyl enforcement is a top priority for us in Eastern Idaho and throughout the state,” U.S. Attorney Hurwit said. “I am thankful to our law enforcement partners who investigated this case and helped to dismantle this trafficking operation. We will continue to support this important work and make sure that drug traffickers face the justice that they deserve.”

“The successful outcome of this case is a testament to the strength of collaboration between law enforcement agencies across state lines. The Idaho State Police, along with our partners, remain committed to protecting our communities from the dangers of drug trafficking. Together, we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure the safety and security of Idaho's citizens,” Idaho State Police District 5 Captain Fritz Zweigart said.

U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit applauded the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Idaho State Police, the BADGES/HIDTA Taskforce, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada, and the Montana Highway Patrol for their collaborative work on the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Paskett prosecuted this case.

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