CANYON COUNTY, Idaho-- A drug bust in Canyon County resulted in the arrest of more than 30 people with more arrests expected.
Operation Flamethrower is a year-long investigation into a meth-trafficking operation, involving 10 different law enforcement agencies.
Nampa Police Chief Bill Augsburger says this is as big of a drug-trafficking bust as he's seen in the past few years.
It's an important case for Canyon County and for Ada County, the whole area, said Augsburger. Because methamphetamine is a scourge on our society right now and it was very important that we get these people off the street.
Operation Flamethrower culminated with 18 search warrants executed in Nampa and Caldwell on Jan. 14, and nine felony suspects arrested.
Felony charges have been filed in Canyon County against the following nine adults:
- Jose Ramon Escobedo Gonzalez, 33, of Nampa, for possession with intent to deliver, immigration hold;
- Lourdes Muro Gonzalez, 32, of Nampa, for aiding and abetting delivery of a controlled substance, immigration hold;
- Fabian Nunez-Garcia, 49, of Nampa, for possession with intent to deliver, immigration hold;
- Juventino Plancarte-Lara, 42, of Nampa, trafficking in methamphetamine, immigration hold;
- Jorge Luis Cardoza, 24, of Nampa, for trafficking in methamphetamine, immigration hold;
- Guadalupe Vargas Bonilla, 27, of Nampa, for trafficking in methamphetamine, immigration hold;
- Victor Chavez Garcia, 18, of Nampa, for trafficking in methamphetamine;
- Martha Chavez, 50, of Nampa, for trafficking in methamphetamine, immigration hold;
- Elena Lupuleasa, 25, of Nampa, for grand theft by possession of stolen property.
Three juveniles were also charged with aiding and abetting the delivery of a controlled substance.Twenty other suspects were cited for misdemeanor drug charges, arrested on other warrants, or put on immigration holds. And more arrests are expected.
There's really no question that other people are going to end up in jail on this thing, said Augsburger. And the investigation continues, which is why we're not giving too many details out, because we're looking to lockup a lot more people on this.
Five pounds of meth was seized, along with marijuana, $30,000, 10 vehicles, two bullet resistant vests, and 28 guns.
We can almost always say whenever we take down these traffickers that we always find guns, said Augsburger. But 28 guns is a significant number of firearms.
This yearlong investigation involved 10 local, state, and federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, Nampa Police and Canyon County Sheriff's Office.
We understand that it takes a lot more manpower for these significant trafficking organizations, said Augsburger. We need to help each other take them down. Because none of us have enough manpower singularly to do it.
Augsburger says Operation Flamethrower is the sixth in a series of large drug trafficking cases undertaken by local and federal authorities in the last four years. The other operations resulted in the successful prosecution of large-scale trafficking organizations.
The investigation is ongoing, and more people are expected to be charged in federal and state court.