Visalia man gets 11.5 years for Idaho drug trafficking

Visalia man sentenced to over a decade in federal prison for leading methamphetamine and fentanyl trafficking ring in eastern Idaho

POCATELLO, Idaho — One Visalia native will be taking up residence behind bars after being ensnared in a federal drug trafficking case.

Hank David Langley, 42, and his partner in crime from Utah, Thomas Joel Schooley, 39, were sentenced to 11 and a half years in prison for bringing meth and fentanyl into the quiet corners of eastern Idaho. The sentencing was announced by the US Department of Justice on Monday, April 1.

The case began to unfold when the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) BADGES Task Force intercepted a package in January 2023 containing 1,000 grams of methamphetamine addressed to Langley. This led to Langley’s arrest following a traffic stop in Pocatello, Idaho where law enforcement discovered more methamphetamine—weighing a pound and a half—as well as over 1,000 fentanyl pills and a firearm in his car. An additional firearm was found in his hotel room, further implicating him in drug trafficking activities.

During the investigation, Schooley was identified as Langley’s accomplice in the drug operation. He was arrested at the end of January 2023 after a traffic stop in Pocatello, where 80 grams of methamphetamine were found in his possession.

Both men pleaded guilty to the charges against them, with Langley entering his plea in September 2023 and Schooley in October 2023. Their sentences were handed down by Chief U.S. District Judge David C. Nye, who also mandated five years of supervised release following their prison terms.

U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit highlighted the significance of the sentences, stating, “Drug traffickers looking for a safe harbor in Idaho should think again or be prepared to face the same consequences as the defendants in this case.”

This sentiment was echoed by David F. Reames, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Seattle Field Division, who remarked on the impact of drug trafficking on communities and the importance of the judicial system in addressing this threat.

The investigation and subsequent prosecution of Langley and Schooley were the result of a collaborative effort among several law enforcement agencies, including the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Idaho State Police and the Pocatello Police Department, all of which are part of the HIDTA BADGES Task Force. The task force is dedicated to combating drug trafficking crimes in Bannock County and the surrounding region.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Blythe H. McLane was responsible for prosecuting the case, underscoring the commitment of Idaho’s judicial system to removing dangerous drug dealers from the community.

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