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Marijuana Trafficker Pleads Guilty

MAR 10 (BOISE, Idaho) –Jose Martin Diaz-Lara, 33, of Walla Walla, Washington, pleaded guilty on March 9, 2016, to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and conspiracy to manufacture a controlled substance, more than 1,000 marijuana plants, with the intent to distribute.  Diaz-Lara was charged by a superseding indictment on December 8, 2015.

According to court documents, Diaz Lara was arrested on September 23, 2015, along with a co-conspirator Carlos Avalos-Cervantes, in a remote, timbered canyon north of Banks, in Boise County, Idaho. Agents were able to document a total of 6,870 live and harvested marijuana plants on state lands in the canyon. According to court proceedings, Diaz-Lara and Avalos-Cervantes each possessed a 9mm handgun in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime. The court documents also state that the marijuana operation was supported and supplied by other co-defendants. Diaz-Lara and Avalos-Cervantes and other co-conspirators are Mexican nationals who entered the United States illegally.

Co-defendant Avalos-Cervantes has pleaded guilty to the same charges as Diaz-Lara and both will be sentenced on April 19, 2016. Trial for the remaining defendants is scheduled for May 9, 2016, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill.

The maximum penalty for manufacturing more than 1,000 marijuana plants with intent to distribute the drug is not to exceeded 20 years, as well as a $1,000,000 fine. The maximum penalty for possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes is not less than five years imprisonment consecutive to any other penalty, and a $250,000 fine.

The arrests and complaints are the result of a joint investigation and cooperative law enforcement efforts of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Nampa Police Department Special Investigations Unit (SIU). Other agencies include Ada County Sheriff’s Office, United States Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Boise County Sheriff’s Office, Boise Police Department, Gooding County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Idaho National Guard—Counterdrug Support Office, Meridian Police Department, Milton-Freewater Police Department, Oregon State Police, Power County Sheriff’s Office, Spokane Police Department, Valley County Sheriff’s Office, Walla Walla Police Department, and Washington State Patrol.

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.

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