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Three men sentenced for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, heroin in Magic Valley

Members of the Magic Valley group obtained the meth and heroin in Mexico and brought it back to Idaho for distribution.
Credit: Micha? Chodyra
Photo: Thinkstock

BOISE, Idaho — Three Idaho men are going to federal prison for their role in bringing methamphetamine and heroin into the Magic Valley.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Idaho announced Friday that 30-year-old James Tyler Ferguson of Jerome was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 41-year-old Jedediah Levi Dahl of Twin Falls was sentenced to 7 years, 3 months in prison, and 52-year-old Jay Dale Cummins of Twin Falls was sentenced to 6 years, 10 months in prison. Ferguson and Dahl will be on supervised release for five years after they complete their prison terms; four years of supervised release will follow Cummins' prison term. Chief U.S. District Judge David Nye ordered the sentences.

All three defendants pleaded guilty to federal drug charges in 2021, and all had prior convictions. Ferguson was on parole at the time of his most recent arrest.

According to court records, Ferguson, Dahl and Cummins worked together with at least four other people to distribute the illegal drugs.

The U.S. Department of Justice said the group obtained the methamphetamine and heroin in Mexico and transported it back to Idaho, to be sold in the Magic Valley.

According to Friday's announcement, Cummins was a courier who traveled to Mexico and returned with drugs in the Gem State on three occasions. The U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) said Cummins was terminated from the conspiracy. 

Ferguson then recruited two new couriers who traveled to Mexico to obtain the drugs, officials said. 

While driving his motorcycle, DOJ said police officers stopped Dahl on July 11, 2020. Dahl was an active participant in the conspiracy, but was arrested due to an outstanding warrant.

During the stop and Dahl's arrest, police found methamphetamine, heroin, a digital scale, packaging material, and $5,200 in drug proceeds. 

Three days later, on July 14, 2020, the DOJ said Idaho State Police (ISP) stopped a rental vehicle on its way to Idaho from Mexico. 34-year-old Belinda Jean Leverich and 31-year-old Erica Lyn Overton - both from Twin Falls - drove the rental vehicle.

DOJ said Leverich and Overton were both drug couriers and detectives found more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine and more than 100 grams of heroin during the stop.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Leverich pleaded guilty on May 25, 2021 and Jan. 13, 2022. Judge Nye sentenced Leverich to 8 years, 4 months in federal prison, followed by supervised release for five years. 

Judge Nye also sentenced Overton to more than 3 years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. Overton pleaded guilty on June 8, 2021 and Sept. 7, 2021.

DOJ said 39-year-old codefendant Ryan James DeRuiter of Filer faces up to life imprisonment and is scheduled for sentencing on March 16.

ISP, Twin Falls Police Department, Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office, Idaho Department of Correction and the Twin Falls County Prosecuting Attorney's Office all contributed to the arrests and prosecutions. 

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