Idaho Drug Trafficking Suspect Identified as Previous Deportee, Say Feds

Armando Sarmiento-Sarmiento mugshot
Photo: Idaho State Police

Idaho State Police say a man they arrested for allegedly trafficking a large quantity of marijuana is a previously deported illegal alien. Police report they found the man, and a non-citizen female companion, in possession of more than 100 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop in October.

An Idaho trooper initially arrested what he believed to be a California couple after finding 117 pounds of marijuana in their vehicle during a traffic stop, the Idaho Falls Post Register reported. The trooper became suspicious of the couple after noting the extreme nervousness of the male suspect and inconsistencies between the stories offered by the couple.

The trooper eventually learned the driver was not a California resident but actually a previously deported illegal alien, the local news outlet reported:

On October 14th, 2018, ISP arrested “Javier Luna-Gutierrez” for trafficking 117 lbs. of marijuana. During the traffic stop he had identified himself with a fictitious California driver’s license. The Department of Homeland Security Task Force ran name of “Javier Luna-Gutierrez” through their federal database and discovered his true identity was Armando Sarmiento-Sarmiento. They were able to confirm his identity through a fingerprint check. The Idaho State Police followed-up on this new information and discovered that Sarmiento-Sarmiento had a United States Marshals federal warrant out of Utah.

The Post Register reported that the trooper stopped a vehicle on Highway 20 near Idaho Falls on October 14. The driver presented a California driver license bearing the name Javier Luna-Gutierrez, 24. Police identified his female passenger as Aida Rodriguez-Hernandez, 19. The trooper stopped the couple for an alleged speeding violation.

The trooper noted both occupants of the vehicle appeared nervous as he initially approached. He said the driver’s hand was shaking as he handed the trooper his license. During routine interview questions, the answers from the driver and his passenger did not match up.

Noting the bloodshot eyes of the driver, the trooper reportedly asked the driver if he had recently used drugs or alcohol. The driver responded that there was nothing illegal in the car, the newspaper reported.

Rodriguez-Hernandez consented to a search of her personal bags. The trooper found marijuana packed in one-pound bags. He then searched the rest of the vehicle and found a total of 117 one-pound bags. He also reportedly found a small quantity of methamphetamine.

The driver, then identified as Luna Gutierrez, reportedly admitted to transporting the drugs for money. He said he previously received a fee of $40,000 for moving 70 pounds of marijuana and had been paid $5,000 so far for this shipment. He said the woman knew he was transporting the marijuana but did not know about the details of the shipment.

After placing the couple under arrest, the trooper contacted immigration authorities who identified the driver as actually being an illegal alien who had previously been deported. The agency identified the man as Armando Sarmiento-Sarmiento.

With that information, the trooper found a federal warrant from the U.S. Marshal’s Office out of Utah. That warrant indicated the following outstanding charges, according to the Idaho State Police:

Count 1 – Possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute

Count 2 – Possession of marijuana with intent to distribute

Count 3 – Possession of a firearm and ammunition by an illegal alien

Count 4 – Carrying a firearm during and in relation to drug trafficking crime

Count 5 – Re-entry of a previously removed Alien

Sarmiento-Sarmiento is reportedly being held in the Bonneville County jail on state charges of trafficking 25 pounds or more of marijuana. If convicted, he faces a minimum of five to 15 years in state prison. He could also receive up to seven years in prison for the possession of methamphetamine charge. Police also arrested his female companion, but charges are not yet listed in the Idaho court system.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers stated both parties are not U.S. citizens and placed an immigration detainer on the couple, the Post Register reported. Breitbart News reached out to ICE officials for additional information on both of the suspects, but a response was not immediately available.

Federal court records obtained by Breitbart News from the District of Utah confirmed the five federal charges reported by the Idaho State Police. The five-count indictment alleges that Sarmiento-Sarmiento possessed more than 50 grams of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, possessed an undefined quantity of marijuana with the intent to distribute, possessed a 9mm handgun and ammunition as an illegal alien, carried a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and is an illegal alien who was deported on November 23, 2012 and illegally re-entered the U.S. after said removal.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Border/Cartel Chronicles. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.


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