Idaho Falls Man Pleads Guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine


POCATELLO – Matthew Gary Leander III, 39, of Idaho Falls, entered a guilty plea to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, Acting U.S. Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez, Jr. announced today. Leander was indicted by a federal grand jury on August 27, 2019. Sentencing is set for November 9, 2021, before Chief U.S. District Judge David C. Nye at the federal courthouse in Pocatello.

According to court records, Idaho State Police officers attempted a traffic stop on the van Leander was driving after observing a suspected drug transaction. Leander failed to yield and led police on a chase through a residential neighborhood. The pursuit ended when Leander collided with a fence in a commercial area near downtown Idaho Falls. Leander then ran away on foot and was later apprehended. Police found a large amount of methamphetamine and other indicators of drug sales in the van Leander had been driving.

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Leander faces a minimum term of five years and a maximum term of forty years in federal prison, a fine of $5 million, and at least four years of supervised release.

Acting U.S. Attorney Gonzalez recognized and commended the cooperative efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Idaho State Police-District 6, and the Idaho Falls Police Department, which led to charges.

This case was handled by the U.S. Attorney Office’s specially deputized Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA), funded by the Eastern Idaho Partnership (EIP) 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.

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The EIP SAUSA program allows law enforcement to utilize the federal criminal justice system – through the EIP SAUSA – 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, approximately 174 defendants have been indicted by the EIP SAUSA. Of these defendants, 127 have been indicted on drug trafficking charges. The defendants indicted under the program have been sentenced to 7,468 months (approximately 622 years) in federal prison, representing an average prison sentence of 53.72 months (4.47 years). Defendants indicted for drug trafficking offenses serve, on average, approximately 60.33 months (5.02 years) in federal prison.

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