Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Drug case transferred to feds

Suspected marijuana kingpin taken into federal custody

Express Staff Writer

Augusto Martinez-Lazo

Jurisdiction in a case involving a man suspected of being a major marijuana importer in Blaine County has been transferred from local to federal authority.

The Blaine County Sheriff's Office reported Monday that Augusto Martinez-Lazo, a 37-year-old Blaine County resident believed to be an illegal immigrant, was taken into custody on Friday by federal authorities.

Sheriff's Lt. Jay Davis said Martinez-Lazo was turned over to federal authorities on a federal indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a firearm and being a formerly deported alien who was found in the United States.

Martinez-Lazo was already in Blaine County Jail on a $200,000 bond following his arrest Oct. 3 at his home on Alturas Drive in the Ohio Gulch area north of Hailey. The bust was a joint operation conducted by Idaho State Police and the sheriff's office.

The sheriff's office reported earlier this month that nearly 30 pounds of marijuana, several guns and approximately $130,000 in cash were seized from Martinez-Lazo.

Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling described Martinez-Lazo as "the guy believed to be the main distributor." A press release from the sheriff's office described the suspect as a "convicted felon and a prior felony deport."

Martinez-Lazo had been charged with marijuana trafficking in Blaine County but that charge has been dismissed with transference of jurisdiction to federal court in Boise.

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