Tommy Lee Vasquez Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on July 8, 2010, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, TOMMY LEE VASQUEZ, a 35-year-old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. VASQUEZ was sentenced to a term of:
- Prison: 240 months
- Special Assessment: $100
- Forfeiture: $3,060 cash
- Supervised Release: 6 years
VASQUEZ was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.
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:
During the early morning hours of April 22, 2008, law enforcement officers spotted VASQUEZ driving a vehicle with no front license plate. While being questioned as he stood outside his vehicle, officers noticed that VASQUEZ was nervous, his hands were shaking, and he had difficulty putting his driver's license back into his wallet. VASQUEZ' face was sweating even though the temperature was 28 degrees.
For officer safety, VASQUEZ was searched and a glass pipe was recovered. VASQUEZ was then handcuffed and arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. Shortly thereafter, an office and his K9 arrived at the scene. The dog alerted to the passenger door and then indicated on the driver's side door for drugs.
The officers obtained a search warrant for VASQUEZ' vehicle and found a cell phone, $3,950 in cash, a list of phone numbers with numbers of known meth users, a digital scale with meth residue on it, two loaded firearms (one of which was stolen), dozens of small baggies used by meth distributors to package street level crystal meth, and four separate amounts of meth:
B164 - .26 grams of meth, a Schedule II controlled substance, that also contained DMS (dimethyl sulfone) a cutting agent;
B165 - .33 grams of meth with DMS;
B166 - 2.7 grams of 26.7% meth or 0.72 grams of actual meth with DMS; and
B171 - 7.3 grams of 3.9% meth or 0.28 grams of actual meth with DMS.
Officers also recovered over two ounces of cut (1B 167).
The United States would have presented evidence that the meth seized was either packaged for redistribution or the meth possessed was consistent with possession with the intent to distribute; and that VASQUEZ had in his possession the tools of the trade of a meth distributor.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that VASQUEZ will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, VASQUEZ does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Billings Big Sky Safe Streets Task Force and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force.