BOISE — Authorities held a Wednesday morning press conference to announce grand jury indictments of 15 members of a Caldwell-based gang.
The indictments on drug trafficking and firearms charges, which a grand jury returned Nov. 13, follow a yearlong joint investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies including the Caldwell, Nampa, Meridian and Boise police departments, the Canyon and Ada County sheriff’s offices, as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the FBI and the Idaho Department of Correction, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho.
At the press conference Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Bart Davis said the 15 suspects, who range in age from 21 to 66, are members of the West Side Loma gang.
“The West Side Lomas are a gang operating in Caldwell, Idaho, with a history of violence and drug trafficking,” Davis said.
Those indicted are:
Kristina Alvarado, 38, of Nampa
Marvin Arredondo, 30, of Parma
Vanessa Campos, 31, of Caldwell
Brooks Case, 32, of Star
Javier Deluna, 29, of Nampa
Alfredo Esparza, Jr., 48, of Nampa
Leno Esparza, 28, of Nampa
Elisa Mata, 34, of Nampa
Arturo Fuentes, 41, of Caldwell
Alex Ibarra, 21, of Homedale
Stephen Janoushek, 66, of Meridian
Lorensa Muniz, 32, of Caldwell
Miriam Murillo, 33, of Nampa
Harley Ogburn, 27, of Nampa
Breanna Stell, 28, of Parma
All 15 people were charged with distribution of methamphetamine, according to the news release. Arredondo is also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of an unregistered firearm.
A federal charge for distribution of methamphetamine is generally punishable by up to 20 years in prison, according to the release. Those charged with distributing more than 5 grams of pure methamphetamine face at least five and up to 40 years in prison. Those charted with distribution of more than 50 grams of pure methamphetamine face a minimum of 10 years in prison, and up to life in prison.
A Federal charges charge of unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of an unregistered firearm is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Seven of the suspects were already in custody, having been arrested on suspicion of unrelated crimes, Davis said at the press conference. The release specifies three people were in custody at the Canyon County Jail, and another four were in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction. Davis confirmed the suspected crimes committed leading to the indictments occurred prior to their arrests, rather than after they were in custody. Another seven were arrested earlier this week in connection with the indictments. One, Leno Esparza, is still at large, Davis said.
The indictments are the final act of a yearlong investigation by the police agencies, spanning from October 2018 through last month.
Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue, who also spoke at the press conference, said he remembered the West Side Loma gang was based in Nampa roughly 10 years ago. He said as police pressure on the gang increased there, gang members had to relocate. Gang activity, he said, knows no bounds.
“It is truly out there and it’s going to be out there day in and day out, and we have to keep constant vigilance,” Donahue said.
He said methamphetamine is still “king” in Southwest Idaho in terms of the area’s most common drugs.
The 15 cases will be prosecuted in federal court by a special assistant U.S. attorney, according to the release.