News and Press Releases

Kristy Renee Cota Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on October 8, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, KRISTY RENEE COTA, a 28-year-old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. COTA was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 60 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Supervised Release: 4 years

COTA was sentenced in connection with her guilty plea to distribution of methamphetamine.

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 the 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.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that COTA will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, COTA does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

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.



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