Armando Hernandez-Vaca Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on February 13, 2013, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, ARMANDO HERNANDEZ-VACA, a 25-year-old resident of Billings, pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine. Sentencing has been set for May 15, 2013. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica T. Fehr, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
In October of 2010, the FBI Safe Streets Task Force (BSSSTF) received information about a large scale methamphetamine distribution organization operating in Yellowstone County.
In the spring of 2011, law enforcement began performing electronic surveillance on C.M., an individual living in Billings. Investigators discovered that C.M. began supplying the larger methamphetamine organization in late 2010 with methamphetamine after the prior source of supply had a run in with law enforcement.
During the investigation law enforcement learned that HERNANDEZ-VACA delivered methamphetamine to C.M., his co-conspirator, D.M., and several other individuals from approximately April 2011 to October 2011. HERNANDEZ-VACA regularly transported two to three pounds of methamphetamine per trip during his involvement in the conspiracy.
In approximately July of 2011, C.M. was incarcerated on non-drug related charges. D.M. took over the distribution of methamphetamine and collection of money for the organization. HERNANDEZ-VACA also came back to Billings during the same time to bring more methamphetamine and to make sure D.M. could continue the distribution of methamphetamine in the area. Following C.M.'s arrest, HERNANDEZ-VACA became more involved in the actual distribution of methamphetamine to C.M.'s network of distributors and began to collect drug debts from C.M.'s customers.
During the course of his involvement in the conspiracy, HERNANDEZ-VACA distributed over 500 grams of a mixture containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine from places outside of the state of Montana into the Yellowstone County area.
HERNANDEZ-VACA faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and could be sentenced to life, a $10,000,000 fine, and 5 years supervised release.
The investigation was conducted by the Billings Big Sky Safe Streets Task Force.