News and Press Releases

Kristy Renee Cota Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings on June 11, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, KRISTY RENEE COTA, a 28-year-old resident of Billings, pled guilty to distribution of methamphetamine. Sentencing is set for September 16, 2009. She is currently detained.

In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On November 19, 2008, a confidential informant (CI) arranged to purchase one ounce of methamphetamine from COTA for $1,800. The CI met COTA at a casino where she/he gave COTA $1,770 for the ounce of methamphetamine. COTA and a female came out of the restroom, and COTA placed a baggie of methamphetamine in the CI's sweatshirt pocket.

That same night, COTA was stopped and detained after distributing the methamphetamine to the CI. COTA admitted to law enforcement that she received the one ounce of methamphetamine from Heidi Aragon in the restroom of casino and delivered the methamphetamine to the CI.

The Drug Enforcement Administration Lab tests found 18.50 grams of 30.9% methamphetamine or 5.70 grams of actual methamphetamine in the substance that was COTA sold to the CI.

Aragon pled guilty to federal charges and is awaiting sentencing.

COTA faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and could be sentenced to 40 years, a $2,000,000 fine and at least 4 years supervised release. Assistant U.S. Attorney James E. Seykora prosecuted the case for the United States.

The investigation was conducted by the Billings Big Sky Safe Streets Task Force.

A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.



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