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Thanksgiving drug bust sends California man to prison for 10 years

Co-defendants sentenced to more than 8 years

POCATELLO, Idaho – A Mexican national who formerly resided in California was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Juan Aguilar, 60, pleaded guilty to the drug charge last December. Upon completion of his prison term, Aguilar will be subject to five years of supervised release. Aguilar and five other co-defendants were arrested in November 2011 following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Idaho State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Chubbuck Police Department.

According to the plea agreements, on November 24, 2011, Thanksgiving Day, Aguilar and co-defendant and Mexican national Raymond Camacho, aka Jesus Mendoza Nunez, 57, were in a vehicle that was stopped by law enforcement officers in Bannock County. A search of the vehicle uncovered approximately three pounds of methamphetamine. Forensic analysis later determined the substance contained in excess of 50 grams of actual methamphetamine. Camacho and Aguilar admitted to knowing the methamphetamine was in the vehicle and that they intended to distribute it to others.

Also sentenced Monday were co-defendants Juan Mendoza, 41, and Jose Rios-Jimenez, 62, both Mexican nationals formerly of Menan. They also pleaded guilty last December. Mendoza received eight-and-a-half years in prison and five years' supervised release for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Rios-Jimenez was sentenced to time served for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and illegal re-entry of a previously deported alien. During a search of Rios-Jimenez's residence, investigators seized a .38 caliber pistol, which he admitted possessing. Rios-Jimenez will once again be subject to deportation.

Camacho and two other defendants have pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and related charges in this case. They are scheduled to be sentenced in the coming weeks.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Idaho prosecuted the case.