News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Federal jury convicts California woman for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2012


MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court, a jury found a 30-year-old woman
from Richmond, California, guilty of conspiring to distribute large amounts of
methamphetamine in the Twin Cities. Following a five-day trial, the jury convicted Erika
Romero Montenegro on one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to
distribute 500 or more grams of methamphetamine. Montenegro was indicted, along with 21
co-defendants, on September 7, 2011. Eighteen of those co-defendants have pleaded guilty
before United States District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis, while two remain at large.

According to the evidence presented at trial, between January of 2010 and September of
2011, the defendants conspired with each other and others to distribute methamphetamine. The
drugs were delivered from California to Minnesota via passenger automobile. The drivers
would then drive the proceeds from the drug sales back to California. The methamphetamine
was temporarily stored in locations, including residences until it could be delivered to
distributors. Distributors were customers who were provided large amounts of
methamphetamine, pursuant to a financial arrangement by which payment was made after the
distributors were able to sell it to other customers.

On March 14, 2012, Todd Allen Mudgett, age 43, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty to one
count of conspiracy. In his plea agreement, Mudgett admitted that he joined the conspiracy in
May of 2011, and was a methamphetamine distributor. In addition, he admitted that on August 8, 2011, he ordered one pound of methamphetamine and was stopped by the Minnesota State
Patrol after obtaining the drug. Authorities recovered four wrapped packages of pure
methamphetamine totaling 444.7 grams.

On March 9, 2012, Harold James Hurley, age 55, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. In his plea agreement, Hurley admitted that he joined the conspiracy in June of 2011, and received methamphetamine for resale. On August 2, 2011, Hurley was stopped by the St. Paul Police Department on a traffic violation, and officers seized four ounces of methamphetamine. In addition, Hurley admitted
responsibility for more than 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine.

On March 8, 2012, Orlando Valencia-Nunez, age 41, of Roseville, pleaded guilty to one
count of conspiracy. In his plea agreement, Valencia-Nunez, also known as Jose Ramirez-
Valdovinos, admitted that he joined the conspiracy in 2011, and was a methamphetamine
supplier who distributed at least 500 grams of it. Also on March 8, Susana Barragan-Sanchez,
age 21, of Bakersfield, California, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. In her plea
agreement, Barragan-Sanchez admitted joining the conspiracy in March of 2011, and
coordinating shipments of methamphetamine and drug proceeds. She also admitted assisting in
the negotiations of prices and with the collection of drug-related debts. In addition, Barragan-
Sanchez admitted being responsible for more than 15 kilograms of methamphetamine.

On March 7, Javier Hernandez-Coria, age 24, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty to one count of
conspiracy. In his plea agreement, Hernandez-Coria admitted joining the conspiracy in March
of 2011, and was a methamphetamine distributor. In addition, Hernandez-Coria admitted being
responsible for more than 15 kilograms of methamphetamine.

On March 6, 2012, Juan Carlos Ruiz-Meza, age 28, no known address, pleaded guilty to
one count of conspiracy. In his plea agreement, Ruiz-Meza admitted that he joined the
conspiracy in 2011, and was a driver and distributor. He also admitted routinely transporting
drugs to others who delivered them to customers. In addition, Ruiz-Meza admitted being
responsible for more than 15 kilograms of methamphetamine.

On February 21, 2012, Adelaida Barragan-Sanchez, age 29, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty
to one count of conspiracy. In her plea agreement, she admitted joining the conspiracy in March
of 2011, and facilitating the methamphetamine distribution activities for the organization. In
addition, Barragan-Sanchez admitted being responsible for more than 15 kilograms of
methamphetamine. Also on February 21, Jose Rafael Oceguara, age 28, of Spring Lake Park,
pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. In his plea agreement, Oceguara admitted that he
joined the conspiracy in January of 2010, and was a methamphetamine distributor. In addition,
Oceguara admitted being responsible for more than 15 kilograms of methamphetamine.

On January 19, 2012, Miguel Angel Sanchez-Rodriguez, age 22, of St. Paul, pleaded
guilty to one count of conspiracy. In his plea agreement, Sanchez-Rodriguez, also known as Angel Gallardo, admitted that he joined the conspiracy in March of 2011, and distributed
methamphetamine. He was also responsible for receiving shipments of drugs from California
and sending money back to California. In addition, Sanchez-Rodriguez admitted being
responsible for more than 15 kilograms of methamphetamine.

On January 5, 2012, Jesus Lopez-Vasquez, age 26, of Spring Lake Park, pleaded guilty
to one count of conspiracy. In his plea agreement, Lopez-Vasquez admitted joining the
conspiracy in May of 2011, and delivering methamphetamine. In addition, Lopez-Vasquez
admitted being responsible for more than 15 kilograms of methamphetamine.

On December 12, 2011, Jose Juan Gallardo, age 24, no known address, pleaded guilty to
one count of conspiracy. In his plea agreement, Gallardo admitted joining the conspiracy in
August of 2011, and delivering methamphetamine. In addition, Gallardo admitted being
responsible for more than 15 kilograms of methamphetamine. Also on December 12, Jacob
Dwight Olmstead, age 34, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. In his plea
agreement, Olmstead admitted that he joined the conspiracy in June of 2010, and distributed
methamphetamine. In addition, Olmstead admitted being responsible for more than 1.5
kilograms of methamphetamine.

On December 1, 2011, Lawrence Joseph Martinez, age 61, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty to
one count of conspiracy. In his plea agreement, Martinez admitted that he joined the conspiracy
in June of 2011, and distributed methamphetamine. In addition, Martinez admitted being
responsible for more than 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine.

On November 29, 2011, James Peter Jeanetta, age 58, of Little Canada, pleaded guilty
to one count of conspiracy. In his plea agreement, Jeanetta admitted that he joined the
conspiracy in May of 2011, and distributed methamphetamine. In addition, Jeanetta admitted
being responsible for more than 15 kilograms of methamphetamine.

On November 15, 2011, Scott Wayne Doree, age 54, of Landfall, pleaded guilty to one
count of conspiracy. In his plea agreement, Doree admitted that he joined the conspiracy in July
of 2011, and distributed methamphetamine. In addition, Doree admitted being responsible for
more than 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine. Also on November 15, Brian Robert Bibeau,
age 38, no known address, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. In his plea agreement,
Bibeau admitted joining the conspiracy in January of 2010, and distributing methamphetamine.
In addition, Bibeau admitted being responsible for more than 15 kilograms of
methamphetamine.

On November 14, 2011, Judy Lynn Redhorn, age 54, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty to one
count of conspiracy. In her plea agreement, Redhorn admitted joining the conspiracy in May of
2011, and allowing the group to use her residence to conduct the drug transactions. She also
admitted receiving a fee for each transaction. In addition, Redhorn admitted being responsible
for more than 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine. Also on November 14, Duane Eugene
Smith, age 53, of White Bear Lake, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. In his plea
agreement, Smith admitted that he joined the conspiracy in February of 2011, and distributed methamphetamine. In addition, Smith admitted being responsible for more than 15 kilograms of
methamphetamine.

For their crimes, the defendants in this case face a potential maximum penalty of life in
prison. Judge Davis will determine their sentences at future hearings.

This case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration,
the Minnesota State Patrol, the St. Paul Police Department, the Northwest Metro Drug Task
Force, the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office's Drug Task Force, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven L. Schleicher.

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