News and Press Releases

Juan Vargas-flores Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Missoula on June 23, 2009, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, JUAN VARGAS-FLORES, a 30-year-old resident of Bozeman, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Sentencing is set for October 16, 2009. He is currently detained.

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

In 2007, the Missouri River Drug Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began investigating a cocaine-trafficking organization in Gallatin County. The investigation included surveillance of individuals and addresses, and multiple controlled purchases of cocaine by confidential informants. VARGAS-FLORES is a member of the drug trafficking organization.

On the following dates, law enforcement officers monitored controlled purchases of cocaine in the following amounts:

March 12, 2008 - one ounce;

March 24, 2008 - five ounces;

April 15, 2008 - one ounce;

April 25, 2008 - one ounce;

April 30, 2008 - four ounces;

July 2, 2008 - one ounce;

August 6, 2008 - three ounces;

August 26, 2008 - two ounces;

September 22, 2008 - two ounces;

October 22, 2008 - one-half ounce;

October 28, 2008 - two ounces;

November 12, 2008 - three ounces;

November 25, 2008 - three ounces;

January 16, 2009 - two and one-half ounces; and

March 31, 2009 - one and one-half ounce.

VARGAS-FLORES provided the cocaine on 4 of the 15 drug deals listed above. All told, law enforcement officers either purchased or seized over 845 grams of cocaine.

On April 20, 2009, VARGAS-FLORES and Miguel Santos-Mijangos were arrested at their residence in Gallatin County. VARGAS-FLORES told law enforcement that he had transported cocaine from Denver to the Bozeman area more than ten but less than 15 times. He said he normally picked up seven ounces. He described his source of supply in Denver and admitted selling three ounces of cocaine in Bozeman on at least three occasions. VARGAS-FLORES said that the largest sum of money transported to Denver at one time to buy cocaine was $10,000.

Santos-Mijangos pled guilty to federal charges and is awaiting sentencing.

VARGAS-FLORES 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 Timothy J. Racicot prosecuted the case for the United States.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Missouri River Drug Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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



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