Arizona drug trafficker sentenced in meth conspiracy
BILLINGS—An Arizona man who repeatedly brought pound loads of methamphetamine to Billings for distribution was sentenced today to nine years in prison and five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Wilfrido Varelas-Rubio, 24, of Glendale, AZ, pleaded guilty earlier to possession with intent to distribute meth.
U.S. District Judge Susan Watters presided.
In April 2018, law enforcement drug task agents began investigating a meth trafficking conspiracy that was bringing large quantities of the drug to the Billings area, prosecution evidence showed. Agents learned from a variety sources that Varelas-Rubio led the conspiracy and repeatedly brought meth to the community. On June 15, 2018, agents were notified that Varelas-Rubio was in town, selling meth and staying at a hotel.
Investigators got a search warrant for Varelas-Rubio’s room and found him there. A search turned up 14 ounces of individually wrapped meth, $6,800 cash, four cell phones and a storage unit code. Varelas-Rubio was taken to the Yellowstone County Detention Facility as agents went to a storage unit, where Varelas-Rubio had rented a secured parking space. Officers seized a Buick Lucerne that was in the space and searched it after getting another warrant. Agents found about 3.5 pounds of meth in a sophisticated concealment compartment. Lab tests determined that all of the meth seized in the case was substantially pure. The total amount of meth seized was the equivalent of about 15,600 doses.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin Rubich prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and FBI.
The case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.