February 18, 2015
Contact: Jodie Underwood
Phone Number: (206) 553-5443
Mexican National Sentenced As Leader And Organizer Of Marijuana Grow On Public Lands
BOISE, Idaho - Juan Pablo Villasenor-Villa, 25, of Michoacan, Mexico, was sentenced on February 10, 2015, to 288 months in prison for continuing criminal enterprise involving the unlawful growing of thousands of marijuana plants, and possession of large quantities of harvested marijuana with intent to distribute it, as well as damage to federal public lands. Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also ordered Villasenor-Villa to pay $33,265 in restitution, a $500 special assessment, and to serve five years of supervised release following his release from prison. Villasenor-Villa, the organizer and leader of two marijuana growing operations, was convicted on November 4, 2014, following a one-week jury trial.
Villasenor-Villa is the final defendant to be sentenced in connection with the two marijuana growing operations discovered in the Boise National Forest in September 2013. The court previously sentenced the other participants who were working in the marijuana growing operation under the direction of Villasenor-Villa. Jose Ayala-Talavera was sentenced to 111 months for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute a controlled substance, injury to government property, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Marcos Solano-Farias was sentenced to 30 months for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute a controlled substance, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, and injury to government property. Carlos Cerda-Carpio was sentenced to 27 months for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute a controlled substance, and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. Gilberto Duran Contreras was sentenced to 30 months for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute a controlled substance and injury to government property. Mariah Villasenor-Rodriguez, Villasenor-Villa’s wife, was sentenced to 21 months for possession of more than 100 kilograms of marijuana with intent to distribute.
The two outdoor marijuana growing operations were located in the Boise National Forest, a few miles from Highway 21 in Boise County. Ayala-Talavera, Solano-Farias, and Cerda-Carpio were captured by law enforcement officers at a camp located next to a marijuana grow site on Rabbit Creek, with 1,411 live plants, as well as harvested marijuana. According to the plea agreements, investigators found and seized two semi-automatic handguns, an AK-47 type rifle in the camp, and several hundred marijuana plants that had already been harvested from the growing operation. Investigators located and eradicated all live marijuana plants. Law enforcement officers also found a related grow site at Beaver Creek, where they removed 5,463 marijuana plants. Duran-Contreras was arrested near this site. Investigators recovered harvested marijuana in one-pound, heat-sealed packages from Villasenor-Villa’s house and from a relative’s house in Caldwell, Idaho. They also recovered $68,500 in large bills of U.S. currency during the arrest of his wife and co-defendant, Mariah Villasenor-Rodriguez on September 12, 2013, in Caldwell.
The case is the result of an investigation through the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task (OCDETF), which included the cooperative law enforcement efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Land Management, and United States Forest Service, with assistance from the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, Boise County Sheriff’s Office, Boise Police Department, City/County Narcotics (Canyon County Sheriff’s Office and Caldwell Police Department), the Idaho National Guard, Meridian Police Department, Nampa Police Department, Spokane Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’(ICE) Homeland Security (HSI), and Washington State Police.
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.