Last of 13 drug
traffickers pleads guilty
Express Staff Writer
One of the
Wood River Valley’s most extensive drug trafficking cases was wrapped up
in Fifth District Court in Hailey on Friday when the 13th and
final defendant admitted to having sold marijuana.
trial scheduled for this past Monday, Louis Eugene Cunningham, 59, changed
his plea to guilty to one count of distribution of marijuana and one count
of failure to affix an illegal tax stamp. The maximum five-year penalty
for distribution of marijuana will be doubled as the result of a previous
conviction. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 7.
also faces a trial in March for solicitation of murder in the first degree
for allegedly trying to arrange the killing of two people scheduled to
testify in his drug case.
Most of the
13 traffickers were arrested during an early-morning raid Feb. 7 when 60
local officers executed search warrants at four locations in Blaine
County. The bust netted a pound and a half of cocaine, a pound of
methamphetamine and two and a half pounds of marijuana.
the defendants were arrested outside the county, including Cunningham who
was arrested by the FBI in Los Angeles.
so-called "kingpin" of the ring, Eliberto Rios Lopez, 28, was
convicted by a jury and sentenced in early November to a minimum 12 years
and maximum 24 years in prison on two counts of trafficking in
methamphetamine and two counts of failure to affix an illegal tax stamp.