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Burley man sentenced to 5 years for drug trafficking

From the November crime report: Murder trial, police officer shot, rape charges series
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POCATELLO — A Burley man was sentenced to 5 year in federal prison for distributing methamphetamine.

According to court records, on April 20, 2020, detectives with the Minidoka-Cassia Drug Task Force received a tip that suspicious activity was occurring in an industrial business complex in Paul. Task force detectives conducted surveillance based on the tip and saw Fernando Najera, 42, of Burley, arrive at the industrial complex. He was seen carrying a bag into one of the buildings. Najera left a short time later in his vehicle. Further investigation led to a search of Najera’s vehicle, where detectives found 35.5 grams of methamphetamine, a large amount of U.S currency, and other things related to drug sales.

Senior U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ordered Najera to serve four years of supervised release following his prison sentence. Najera was also found in violation of federal supervised release from a prior federal drug trafficking conviction. Najera was sentenced on this violation to 18 months in prison to be served concurrently with his 5 year prison sentence.

Acting U.S. Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez Jr. of the District of Idaho made the announcement and commended the cooperative efforts of the Cassia County Sheriff’s Office and the Minidoka County Sheriff’s Office collaborative task force, which led to charges.

This case was handled by the U.S. Attorney Office’s specially deputized Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, funded by the Eastern Idaho Partnership and the State of Idaho. The EIP is a coalition of local city and county officials in eastern Idaho as well as the Idaho Department of Correction.

The program allows law enforcement to use the federal criminal justice system to prosecute, convict and sentence violent, armed criminals and drug traffickers. These criminals often receive stiffer penalties than they might in state courts.

This program was created in January 2016. Since that time, 186 defendants have been indicted by the Eastern Idaho Partnership. Of these defendants, 139 have been indicted on drug distribution charges. The defendants indicted under the program have been sentenced to about 637 years in federal prison, representing an average prison sentence of 4.45 years. Defendants indicted for drug distribution cases serve, on average, about 4.9 years in federal prison.

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