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Drug Trafficker Convicted on Federal Charges

PHOENIX – On September 13, 2012, following a five-day trial in federal district court, a jury found Francisco Alfredo Montes-Vargas, 39, of Culiacan, Mexico, guilty of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine.

The evidence presented at trial showed that Drug Enforcement Administration agents initiated an investigation of Montes-Vargas and his co-conspirators in November of 2009. Based on electronic surveillance, agents learned that on December 11, 2009, Montes-Vargas and his co-conspirators arranged for the delivery of drugs to a house in Phoenix. Agents who executed a search warrant at the home found loaded firearms, 19 kilograms of cocaine, 11 kilograms of methamphetamine, and approximately $162,000 in U.S. currency. Additional surveillance allowed agents to identify a car that was headed for Montes-Vargas. When the car was stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 8, agents found 9 kilograms of methamphetamine concealed in a hidden compartment.

Montes-Vargas is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Frederick J. Martone on December 14, 2012. Both convictions carry a potential sentence of 10 years to life in federal prison, in addition to a potential $4,000,000 fine.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Phoenix and in Yuma, and by the United States Border Patrol. The prosecution is being handled by James B. Morse Jr., Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix, and Ian Simons, Asst. Chief Counsel, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney.

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