Friday, August 15, 2014

Bellevue man pleads guilty to meth charge

Investigators say defendant sold drugs to officer


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

    An 18-year-old Bellevue man pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal charge of distribution of methamphetamine, a crime punishable in the U.S. by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.
    The Idaho U.S. Attorney’s Office reported that Ismael Hernandez Valle entered his guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Boise. According to a plea agreement, he admitted to selling methamphetamine in December 2013 to a confidential informant in a joint investigation involving the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Blaine County Narcotics Enforcement Team.
    Valle was arrested in Blaine County on March 20 in a sweep conducted by law enforcement to arrest suspects involved in illegal drug or firearm sales.
    Sentencing was scheduled for Oct. 21 before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge in Boise.
    Valle’s co-defendant, 39-year-old Esteban Villegas-Gamez, a Mexican national who had been living in Bellevue, pleaded guilty to distribution of methamphetamine in May and was sentenced Monday to 46 months in prison. Villegas-Gamez also likely faces deportation once released from prison.
    According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the case was prosecuted by a special assistant U.S. attorney hired by the Treasure Valley Partnership and the state of Idaho to “address gang crimes.”




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