In a significant victory against drug and gun trafficking, a California man has been sentenced to 26 years in federal prison. Ramon Morales Jr. of Compton, California, was convicted for importing and distributing methamphetamine in Eastern Idaho and exchanging firearms in the process. Morales was initially apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol when caught smuggling two pounds of methamphetamine into the United States from Mexico. While awaiting charges, he continued to supply large amounts of methamphetamine to local drug distributors who obtained firearms on Morales’s behalf through a network of straw purchasers. This illegal drug trafficking organization was responsible for the transfer of at least 250 firearms, some of which were recovered at crime scenes in Idaho and neighboring states. The successful investigation, led by multiple law enforcement agencies, resulted in Morales’s arrest, along with the sentencing of his accomplices. U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit acknowledged the collaborative effort of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and other agencies in dismantling this dangerous criminal operation.
In a significant development in the fight against drug trafficking and firearms offenses, Ramon Morales Jr. has been sentenced to over 26 years in federal prison. Morales, a resident of Compton, California, was found guilty of importing and distributing methamphetamine in Eastern Idaho. The charges were a result of his involvement in a dangerous criminal operation that spanned multiple states and relied on local drug distributors.
The investigation into Morales and his associates involved the cooperation of various law enforcement agencies. Among the charges brought against Morales were allegations of firearms trafficking through straw purchasers, a method commonly used by criminal organizations to obtain weapons illegally. The interception of firearms during a transaction and subsequent seizure of methamphetamine led to the arrest of Jonathan Ramirez-Gutierrez, further disrupting the activities of this criminal network.
Senior U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill handed down the sentence of over 26 years in federal prison to Ramon Morales Jr. The judge also presided over the sentencing of Lynne Marie Boswell, Jenny June Manzanares, and Jonathan Ramirez-Gutierrez, all of whom were involved in the drug and gun trafficking conspiracy. Boswell received a sentence of over 15 years, Manzanares was sentenced to 10 years, and Ramirez-Gutierrez received a sentence of over 8 years.
The severity of these sentences reflects the commitment of law enforcement and the judicial system to disrupt the flow of illegal drugs and firearms into and out of Idaho. U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit praised the collaborative effort of law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation, emphasizing the importance of dismantling dangerous criminal operations that pose a threat to communities.
Impact and Prosecutor’s Statement
The successful prosecution of Morales and his associates has had a significant impact on the illegal drugs and firearms flow in Idaho. By disrupting the activities of this criminal organization, law enforcement agencies have effectively reduced the availability of drugs and the potential for violence associated with firearms trafficking. U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit acknowledged the collaboration between the different agencies involved in the investigation, highlighting the crucial role they played in achieving this outcome.
The dismantling of criminal operations such as the one led by Ramon Morales Jr. demonstrates the commitment of law enforcement to protect communities and uphold the rule of law. The successful conclusion of this case serves as a powerful deterrent to those involved in drug trafficking and firearms offenses, sending a clear message that their criminal activities will not be tolerated.
The BADGES Task Force
The BADGES Task Force played a pivotal role in the investigation and apprehension of Ramon Morales Jr. and his associates. The BADGES Task Force is a multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force that utilizes an intelligence-driven, multi-agency prosecutor-supported approach to identify, disrupt, and dismantle drug trafficking organizations. Its objective is to combat local, multi-state, and international drug trafficking operations, thereby safeguarding communities from the harmful effects of drug-related crimes.
The BADGES Task Force receives support and resources from the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). The HIDTA consists of members from various law enforcement agencies, including the Idaho State Police, Pocatello Police Department, Bannock County Sheriff’s Department, Chubbuck Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The collaborative efforts of these agencies have been instrumental in the successful prosecution of individuals involved in drug trafficking and related offenses.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Blythe H. McLane played a vital role in prosecuting the cases related to the Morales drug and gun trafficking conspiracy. As a specially-deputized Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA), funded by the Eastern Idaho Partnership (EIP) and the State of Idaho, McLane was able to utilize the federal criminal justice system effectively. This allowed for the prosecution, conviction, and sentencing of violent, armed criminals and drug traffickers, who often face stricter penalties in federal courts compared to state courts.
The EIP SAUSA Program
The EIP SAUSA program has been instrumental in empowering law enforcement agencies to effectively prosecute armed criminals and drug traffickers. The program, which began in January 2016, enables law enforcement to utilize the federal criminal justice system through the EIP SAUSA. This collaboration between federal and local authorities has proven to be highly successful in bringing offenders to justice and ensuring they face appropriate and significant penalties.
Since its inception, the EIP SAUSA program has indicted approximately 200 defendants, with 146 of them being charged with drug trafficking offenses. The defendants indicted under this program have received sentences totaling an impressive 10,525 months, which is equivalent to approximately 877 years in federal prison. The average prison sentence for these defendants is approximately 57.6 months, or 4.8 years. Those indicted for drug trafficking offenses serve, on average, approximately 64 months, or 5.33 years, in federal prison.
The EIP SAUSA program has consistently achieved remarkable results in curbing drug trafficking and related crimes. By leveraging the federal criminal justice system, law enforcement agencies have been able to effectively bring offenders to justice and protect their communities from the harmful influence of drug trafficking organizations.
For further information or inquiries, please contact the Public Information Officer at the following details:
Name: Cassie Fulghum Contact Number: (208) 334-1211
This press release was last updated on August 16, 2023.