News and Press Releases

Jance Wesley Varela Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on September 1, 2011, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, JANCE WESLEY VARELA, a 29-year-old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. VARELA was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 12 months, 1 day

Special Assessment: $300

Supervised Release: 4 years

VARELA was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and distribution of cocaine.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph E. Thaggard, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

Between March 2008 and September 25, 2008, the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation (MDCI) conducted an undercover investigation of drug trafficking in Billings.

During this time period, an undercover MDCI agent purchased quantities of cocaine directly from another individual, identified here as "John Doe", in seven transactions that occurred in Billings.

On September 25, 2008, the MDCI seized ten ounces of a substance or mixture containing a detectable amount of cocaine from "John Doe".

On November 12, 2008, law enforcement agents interviewed "John Doe," who advised that VARELA had provided him with the cocaine he distributed to the undercover agent between March and September 11, 2008, as well as the cocaine seized from "John Doe" by the MDCI on September 25, 2008. "John Doe" further stated that VARELA received the cocaine from Chad Sanford and that VARELA, in turn, fronted the cocaine to "John Doe" for distribution.

Law enforcement officers also interviewed Sanford. Sanford confirmed that in the spring or early summer of 2008, he, James Mack, and Travis Henry obtained a large quantity of cocaine in Portland, Oregon. Sanford stated that VARELA took approximately a kilogram of cocaine to Montana for distribution, but was supposedly robbed of the cocaine before he could distribute all of it.

Sanford, Mack and Henry pled guilty to federal charges and have been sentenced.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that VARELA will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, VARELA 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 conducted by the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation.



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