POCATELLO – A Pocatello man was sentenced to ten years in federal prison for the discharge of a firearm during a robbery that occurred on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation on June 23, 2021. According to court records, Jose Acosta, Jr., 41, entered a camping trailer and demanded money from a female occupant. The victim refused and fought with Acosta. During the struggle, Acosta fired a pump-action .22 caliber rifle multiple times. The female victim was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a local hospital. Acosta fled the scene after the shooting and was arrested the next day after an extensive manhunt.
On October 4, 2022, Acosta was sentenced to a mandatory term of ten years in federal prison by Senior District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill. Acosta was also ordered to serve a term of five years of supervised release once his sentence is completed.
U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit, of the District of Idaho, made the announcement and commended the cooperative efforts of the Fort Hall Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bingham County Sherriff’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the other assisting local agencies which led to charges.
This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
This case was handled by the U.S. Attorney Office’s specially deputized Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA), funded by the Eastern Idaho Partnership (EIP) and the State of Idaho. The EIP is a coalition of local city and county officials in eastern Idaho as well as the Idaho Department of Correction.
The EIP SAUSA program allows law enforcement to utilize the federal criminal justice system – through the EIP SAUSA – to prosecute, convict, and sentence violent, armed criminals and drug traffickers. These criminals often receive stiffer penalties than they might in state courts.
This program was created in January 2016. Since that time, approximately 199 defendants have been indicted by the EIP SAUSA. Of these defendants, 27 have been indicted on firearms-related charges. The defendants indicted under the program have been sentenced to 8,892 months (approximately 741 years) in federal prison, representing an average prison sentence of 54.55 months (4.54 years). Defendants indicted for firearms-related offenses serve, on average, approximately 41.68 months (3.5 years) in federal prison.