Fernando Soto Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on February 10, 2011, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, FERNANDO SOTO, a 43-year-old resident of Salt Lake City, Utah, appeared for sentencing. SOTO was sentenced to a term of:
Prison: 84 months
Special Assessment: $100
Supervised Release: 5 years
SOTO was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and distribution of cocaine.
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:
SOTO was Shon Flores' source of supply for cocaine. Over 5 kilograms of cocaine were supplied to Shon Flores and others in the conspiracy for redistribution in Billings, Bozeman, Missoula and other locations.
Flores pled guilty to federal charges and has been sentenced.
SOTO 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.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that SOTO will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, SOTO 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 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.