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Idaho man gets 35 years for leading methamphetamine distribution ring

2 other co-conspirators also sentenced

POCATELLO, Idaho – An Idaho Falls methamphetamine ringleader was sentenced Thursday to 35 years in prison and 10 years’ supervised release, following an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation including U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Fausto Urias, 32, pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine. According to court records, Urias used violence, threats of violence and possessed firearms while leading his eastern Idaho methamphetamine ring. The court found that the offense constituted a pattern of criminal conduct from which the defendant derived his livelihood. In addition to prison time, Urias was order to forfeit $100,000 seized during the investigation and pay a $5,000 fine.

According to the plea agreements, from November 2009 through October 2012, Urias and co-defendant Juan Carlos Garcia, 36, of Idaho Falls, conspired to possess and distribute methamphetamine in the Idaho Falls area. Both have criminal records with felony controlled substance possession convictions.

Also sentenced this week were ring members Benito Joya, 58, of Rigby, who received 151 months in prison and five year’s supervised release for possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine; and Misti Chapman, 30, of Idaho Falls, who was ordered to serve 21 months in prison for violating a previously imposed term of supervised release. For her conviction on distribution of methamphetamine, Chapman was sentenced to 18 months in prison and 80 hours of community service. Her prison terms will be served consecutively.

Garcia and two other defendants are scheduled to be sentenced in December.

The charges are the result of an investigation by the OCDETF, including HSI; the Idaho State Police; the Bonneville County, Bingham County, Madison County and Fremont County sheriff's offices; the Idaho Falls and Rexburg police departments; the FBI; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Idaho District.

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.