Tara Rauschendorfer Arraigned and 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 Billings on November 4, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, TARA RAUSCHENDORFER, a 24-year-old resident of Billings, was arraigned and pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and distribute cocaine. Sentencing is set for February 4, 2010. She is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney James E. Seykora, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
In the fall of 2008, federal agents with the FBI and DEA began conducting independent drug trafficking cases targeting several subjects in Billings. They later realized the different cells were connected to the same source of supply and began working the case jointly. The source of supply in Billings was identified as Shon Kalani Flores.
During the latter part of the cocaine distribution conspiracy, Flores and RAUSCHENDORFER began living together in Billings. In approximately January 2009, RAUSCHENDORFER joined the cocaine conspiracy.
The investigation reveals that RAUSCHENDORFER allowed Flores to use her vehicle to obtain multiple ounces of cocaine from Salt Lake City. In addition, RAUSCHENDORFER rented cars for Flores to travel to Salt Lake City to obtain cocaine in multiple ounce quantities and return the cocaine to Billings for redistribution to various individuals and groups. RAUSCHENDORFER also aided Flores by distributing approximately 3 ounces of cocaine herself.
During the period of the conspiracy, others distributing cocaine for Flores would deliver cash proceeds to RAUSCHENDORFER, and she in turn delivered the money to Flores as payment for the cocaine.
Also, during the period of the conspiracy, surveillance teams observed Flores use RAUSCHENDORFER'S vehicle to make numerous deliveries of cocaine throughout Billings.
The amount of cocaine that RAUSCHENDORFER was responsible for and which was directly and reasonably foreseeable to her in the conspiracy exceeded 500 grams.
RAUSCHENDORFER 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.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Billings Big Sky Safe Streets Task Force.