Two Boise-area residents remained behind bars Thursday on $150,000 bonds following their arrests last week in an undercover operation by the Blaine County Narcotics Enforcement Team.
Boise resident Priscilla Barrientes, 39, faces two felony counts of trafficking methamphetamine and one felony count of delivering fentanyl, while Caldwell resident Martin Zavala Mendoza, Jr., 25, faces one felony count of aiding and abetting Barrientes in methamphetamine trafficking and one felony count of aiding and abetting Barrientes in fentanyl delivery.
Both were arraigned in Blaine County Magistrate Court on Jan. 14.
According to probable-cause -for-arrest affidavits filed by Blaine County Sheriff’s Detective Steve Hansen, Barrientes on two occasions—on Jan. 2 and Jan. 13—allegedly sold a total of 10 ounces of methamphetamine to a confidential informant working with the Blaine County Narcotics Enforcement Team, a division of the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office.
In his affidavits, Hansen stated that a confidential informant fitted with an undercover wire purchased 4 grams of meth worth $1,500 at the Timmerman Junction rest stop south of Bellevue during a controlled buy on Jan. 2. The drugs were packaged “in two bindles wrapped in black electrical tape” and tested positive for methamphetamine in a NET field test, he wrote.
A second controlled buy at the rest stop on Jan. 13 yielded 6 grams of meth worth $2,200 and 30 blue fentanyl pills worth $300, Hansen stated. The meth was allegedly packaged with black electrical tape in the same manner, according to the affidavit.
Hansen stated that Barrientes was accompanied by “two other individuals” during the second controlled buy, including Zavala, who allegedly acted as her driver and followed the confidential informant to supervise the transaction. Police allegedly found $2,000 in cash in Zavala’s pants pocket during a subsequent traffic stop on state Highway 75, Hansen wrote, and determined that the bills were the same ones that they had given the informant earlier that day for the buy, as evidenced by their pre-recorded serial numbers.
After her arrest, Barrientes allegedly told police that she had arranged to purchase the 6 ounces of meth from Zavala “through a friend” and that the drugs were already in the truck when Zavala picked her up, Hansen wrote.
“After the buy was completed, she took her cut of her money and placed the rest on the center console and did not see who took the remainder of the money,” Hansen stated.
Upon his arrest, Zavala “denied having knowledge of any illegal narcotics,” according to the affidavit, telling investigators that he had driven Barrientes to the rest stop “so she could meet her boyfriend.” Zavala said that the $2,000 in his pants pocket was “for a previous loan” he had made to her, Hansen wrote.
A third passenger was initially arrested on Jan. 13 for aiding and abetting drug trafficking and drug delivery, but those charges were dropped at arraignment the following day. The individual was not identified by the Bliane County Sheriff’s Office.
Barrientes faces a fine of $100,000 and up to life in prison for the felony drug trafficking charges and a fine of up to $25,000 for the felony drug delivery charge. Zavala faces up to life in prison for his aiding-abetting charges.
On Tuesday, Blaine County Prosecutor Matthew Fredback filed an amended criminal complaint seeking a sentencing enhancement for Barrientes due to her prior criminal history.
Barrientes was previously convicted for felony grand theft in Canyon County in 2008, felony drug possession in Canyon County in 2020 and felony drug possession with intent to deliver in Canyon County in 2020, classifying her a “persistent violator of the law” under Idaho statute, according to court records. Idaho statute permits a sentencing enhancement of at least five years for someone with three prior felony convictions.
Both Barrientes and Zavala are scheduled for preliminary hearings on Jan. 27, at which point the prosecution must present sufficient evidence for the felony cases to be bound over to District Court. ￼￼