Oswaldo Zuniga-sanchez Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Missoula on October 29, 2009, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, OSWALDO ZUNIGA-SANCHEZ, a 26-year-old resident of Bozeman, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Sentencing is set for February 5, 2010. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
The Missouri River Drug Task Force (MRDTF) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have been investigating a methamphetamine-trafficking organization in the Bozeman area since 2007. That organization is responsible for distributing pounds of meth in Gallatin County and the investigation has resulted in the arrest of prosecution of several individuals.
In July 2009, the MRDTF and the DEA monitored three controlled purchases of methamphetamine from ZUNIGA-SANCHEZ. On July 14, 2009, a confidential informant bought 45.7 grams of actual meth from ZUNIGA-SANCHEZ. On July 16, 2009, the same informant bought 45.2 grams of actual meth. On July 21, 2009, the informant bought 40.7 grams of actual meth.
On July 22, 2009, law enforcement executed a search warrant on ZUNIGA-SANCHEZ'S residence. They seized 87.9 grams of actual methamphetamine from ZUNIGA-SANCHEZ'S bedroom and approximately $7,000 in cash and a handgun from a DVD player in the living room.
ZUNIGA-SANCHEZ was arrested prior to the search. He was initially evasive and denied any involvement in the distribution of methamphetamine, but eventually admitted that there were 4.5 ounces of meth under his mattress and that the drugs belonged to him. He also admitted that there was $7,000 in drug proceeds hidden in a broken DVD player in his living room. He identified his source of supply in Washington and estimated that he had received 35 ounces of meth from that source in the preceding two months. ZUNIGA-SANCHEZ also identified several of his drug customers in the Bozeman area, including the confidential informant who executed the July 14, 16, and 21 controlled purchases.
ZUNIGA-SANCHEZ faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and could be sentenced to life, a $4,000,000 fine and at least 5 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Missouri River Drug Task Force.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.