Burley Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Drug Trafficking

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

POCATELLO – Manuel Curiel Jr., 37, of Burley, was sentenced to ten years in federal prison for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit announced today.

According to court records, Curiel was initially arrested on January 21, 2020, after detectives with the Cassia County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant at his residence. Detectives observed three-quarters of a pound of methamphetamine and two firearms in the camping trailer where Curiel lived. Text messages showing that Curiel was engaged in the distribution of methamphetamine were later located on Curiel’s cell phone.

On June 15, 2022, a federal jury sitting in Pocatello convicted Curiel of one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Curiel was sentenced to ten years and one month in federal prison by Chief U.S. District Judge David C. Nye. Judge Nye also ordered Curiel to serve five years of supervised release after he completes his prison sentence.

U.S. Attorney Hurwit, of the District of Idaho, commended the cooperative efforts of the Cassia County Sheriff’s Office and Idaho State Police, which led to the 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.

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 200 defendants have been indicted by the EIP SAUSA. Of these defendants, 146 have been indicted on drug trafficking charges. The defendants indicted under the program have been sentenced to 9,123 months (approximately 760.25 years) in federal prison, representing an average prison sentence of 55.3 months (4.60 years). Defendants indicted for drug trafficking offenses serve, on average, approximately 60.71 months (5.05 years) in federal prison.

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