Crime

Two more defendants in Norteno gang investigation plead guilty to distributing meth

Johnny Lee Martinez, 33, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to distributing methamphetamine, and Guillermo Farias Jr., 29, pleaded guilty to the same charge Wednesday.

Both men are Nampa residents who were arrested as part of a multi-agency investigation of the Norteno or North Side gang in Nampa and other parts of the Treasure Valley, the Idaho U.S. attorney's office reported Wednesday.

Martinez and Farias admitted that they sold methamphetamine to a police informant in February 2014, according to court documents. As part his plea agreement, Martinez also admitted that he distributed methamphetamine to an informant during the fall of 2013.

The charge of distributing methamphetamine is punishable by imprisonment of up to 20 years and a maximum fine of $1 million.

Both men are scheduled to be sentenced on July 20 at the federal courthouse in Boise.

The Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crimes Task Force's Norteno investigation led to indictment of 14 people on drug and gun charged. The first to be sentenced was Guadalupe Serrano, who was sentenced to more than six years in prison last month. Six, including Martinez and Farias, have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing, and one has signed a plea agreement and is expected to plead guilty next week. Three others are scheduled for trial, and three suspects have outstanding warrants.

The Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crime Task Force includes federal, state and local agencies. These cases are being prosecuted by the special assistant U.S. attorney hired by the Treasure Valley Partnership and the state of Idaho to address gang crimes.

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