Jose Manuel Menchaca, 35, and Nicole Danelle Nieto, 31, pleaded guilty this week to distribution of methamphetamine, following separate hearings in federal court in Boise.
Menchaca, who appeared in court on Tuesday, sold nearly 11 grams of meth to two police informants on three occasions between Feb. 12, 2013, and April 29, 2014. The transactions took place at Menchaca’s home; during one of the sales, he took the informant to his supplier’s home and handed over the drugs there.
Nieto admitted in court Monday that she sold methamphetamine to a police informant on two occasions in June 2014. Police found additional meth when they searched her home.
Nieto faces up to 20 years in prison when she is sentenced May 26 before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge.
Menchaca is scheduled for a sentencing hearing two days later. He faces from five to 40 years in prison. His potential sentence is stiffer because one of the sales for which he was charged involved more than 5 grams of meth.
The two defendants were among 14 members and associates of the Norteno, or Northside gang, who were indicted last fall on federal drug and firearms possession charges. The arrests came following a lengthy investigation by the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crimes Task Force, which focused its efforts on the Norteno gang, which operates out of Nampa and other areas in the Treasure Valley.
Brandi Marie Larrea, 31, of Nampa, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of distribution of meth, according to a plea agreement filed Tuesday.
Guadalupe Serrano, 35, of Caldwell, pleaded guilty last month to possession of meth with the intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Tara Noelle Rivera, 30, Johnny Lee Martinez, 33, and Guillermo Farias Jr., 29, all of Nampa, have pleaded not guilty to distribution of meth. Rivera is scheduled to go to trial March 30, with her co-defendants set for trial May 11.
Isaac Bright, 21, of Caldwell, is scheduled to go to trial May 19 for unlawful possession of a firearm. California resident Kenny Breedlove, 35, pleaded not guilty to possession of meth with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and is scheduled for trial on March 30.
Five other defendants — Michael David Bradshaw, 31, Richard Lobato, 51, Veronica Cantu, 26, Jose Enrique Olvera Jr., 51, and Ruben Rodriguez, 36, all from Nampa — remain at large.
The inter-agency Metro Task Force conducts complex long-term investigation of criminal gangs. Prior investigations include those of the Aryan Knights gang, which resulted in the conviction of 23 gang members and associates on gun and drug charges in 2013; the Brown Magic Clica gang, which resulted in the conviction of eleven defendants on federal racketeering charges and numerous other state charges in 2012; the Nampa Northside gang, which resulted in the conviction of eleven gang members and associates also in 2011; another Nampa Northside investigation in 2010, which resulted in the conviction of multiple gang members, and the East Side Locos gang, which resulted in the convictions of approximately 25 gang members since 2009.