Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Final drug bust suspect pleads guilty

Inmate faces additional years to prison sentence

Express Staff Writer

Jorge Flores-Quintana

The final defendant from a 2007 major Blaine County drug bust pleaded guilty Monday to delivery of methamphetamine.

Thirty-three-year-old Jorge Flores-Quintana, a maximum security inmate at the Idaho State Penitentiary near Boise, admitted to 5th District Court Judge Robert J. Elgee that he sold crystal meth to a confidential informant in Sun Valley in June 2006.

"I've been accused of the fact that I was delivering drugs to a person," said Flores-Quintana, who spoke broken English and sometimes needed the assistance of a Spanish-speaking court interpreter. "I know and I feel that I am guilty of the fact. But I didn't know that this was a confidential informant."

The guilty plea was in accord with a plea agreement with the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, which will recommend that Flores-Quintana be sentenced to four years in prison, with two of them to be served before he is eligible for parole.

Flores-Quintana is already serving a 15-year drug dealing sentence for a 1999 conviction and a four-year term for a 2007 escape conviction. Both convictions were in Gooding County.

Elgee told the defendant that any sentence from Blaine County will be "consecutive" to the earlier prison sentences.

"Which means it will add to the sentence you are currently serving," the judge said.

Flores-Quintana is the older brother of Gustavo Flores-Quintana, a 30-year-old former Hailey man who was murdered execution style last November near the Big Wood River north of Gooding.

Jorge Flores-Quintana told the court Monday that he is not a U.S. citizen and has only a sixth-grade education that he received in Mexico.

Elgee told the defendant he'll likely be deported at the conclusion of his prison time.

"If I accept your guilty plea, you will likely not be allowed to re-enter the United States," Elgee said.

Public defender Christopher Simms invoked a "Rule 11" provision in the plea agreement with the prosecutor's office, which means under Idaho court rules that a defendant can withdraw a guilty plea if the sentence exceeds the recommendation of a prosecutor.

Elgee said he's likely to follow the recommendation unless new information is brought to the court's attention through a pre-sentence investigation report.

"It's possible for a judge to say I've changed my mind and I'm not going to follow the agreement," Elgee said. "If that happens you are allowed to withdraw your plea and go to trial."

Sentencing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on July 14.

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