Karl J. Valencia had spent 11 years in the Idaho State Penitentiary. At age 30, that's most of his adult life. Released on parole last October, he was arrested 45 days later in a Bellevue methamphetamine bust. Now it's back to prison.
Valencia seemed to accept his fate when he appeared Monday morning in Blaine County 5th District Court. His appearance was scheduled as an arraignment, but it ended up being that plus a plea hearing and sentencing.
Judge Robert J. Elgee gave him two more years in prison, which will be added to the five years he still has on a 16-year sentence from Twin Falls for an aggravated assault conviction in 1996. The circumstances of his assault conviction were not discussed in court, but Bellevue Marshal Ron Taylor said Valencia was imprisoned for shooting someone.
Valencia, of Jerome, was arrested in Bellevue on Dec. 14 in a joint bust by the marshal's office and the Blaine County Narcotics Enforcement Team. He was initially charged with aiding and abetting delivery of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana. The two possession charges were later dismissed in a plea agreement between Valencia and the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.
Arrested at the same time was Angelica Castrejon-Luna, a 19-year-old Jerome woman charged with felony possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver. Castrejon-Luna also appeared in district court on Monday. She pleaded not guilty to the charge and jury trial was scheduled for June 25.
Castrejon-Luna is free on bond, while Valencia has been incarcerated since his arrest.
Valencia told the court that he decided to plead guilty because the two-year fixed prison term offered by the prosecutor's office was likely the best deal he was going to get. He said the drugs weren't his but he was the one who drove the vehicle and he knew that a drug deal was in the works.
Following the guilty plea, Valencia and defense attorney Dan Dolan waved any delays in sentencing. Dolan explained that his client was anxious to get back to the penitentiary for treatment of drug and other problems that have plagued his life.
"He didn't even have the knowledge to know how to cope with the stresses of life," said Dolan, referring to the 45 days that Valencia was free before his arrest. "He wants to try to learn through the prison system. Now he knows how hard it's going to be to make it on the outside."
Valencia explained that he had previously participated in treatment programs in prison, but that he hadn't applied himself.
"I wasn't serious, if you want to know the honest truth," he said.
Valencia will first have to serve the two years on the Blaine County drug conviction. He will be eligible for parole after that since the five years remaining on his assault conviction are "indeterminate" rather than "fixed."