January 14, 1997 in Idaho

Ex-Narcotics Officer Sent To Prison Nunez Guilty Of Racketeering, Misusing Public Money, Coverup

Associated Press

A former Magic Valley narcotics officer and member of the Tri-County Drug Task Force, Juan R. “John” Nunez, will serve three to seven years in prison, a district judge has ordered.

Nunez was convicted of seven felony charges in October and 5th District Judge Roger Burdick sentenced him to prison on Monday.

Trial for Nunez’s former partner, Donald Lee Walden Sr., former director of the Tri-County Drug Task Force, goes into its second week today.

Nunez was sentenced for misusing public money, racketeering, sales tax evasion and conspiracy to destroy or conceal evidence. Walden is charged with misusing public funds and stealing money and drugs seized as evidence and a coverup conspiracy.

An investigation started as a result of a break-in at the drug task force’s office in January of 1995.

The racketeering charge against Nunez alleged that more than $20,000 in evidence, drug buy and informant reward money disappeared between October, 1991, and January, 1995.

“It’s a sad day when a police officer is sent to prison,” said Attorney General Alan Lance. His Criminal Law Division prosecuted the case.

“When the police break the law, it breeds contempt for the law,” Lance said.

The task force was a two-man operation, funded by grants and operated by Cassia, Minidoka and Cassia counties. It operated for about four years.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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