Arizona meth trafficker sentenced to 15 years in prison
Officers seize pounds of meth, firearm in Livingston
BILLINGS – An Arizona man who admitted drug trafficking and firearm crimes after officers seized more than four pounds of methamphetamine in Livingston was sentenced today to 15 years in prison and to five years of supervised release, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson said.
Gaspar Feliciano Salas, 46, of Glendale, Arizona, pleaded guilty on Aug. 7, 2020 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth, possession with intent to distribute meth and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided.
The government alleged in court documents filed in the case that the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force learned in February 2020 that a person had been purchasing multi-pound quantities of meth from Salas and another individual since February 2019. Salas and the individual traveled together to Montana to distribute meth. On April 23, 2020, agents located Salas and the individual at a hotel in Livingston and searched the room pursuant to a warrant. Agents seized 4.69 pounds of meth, which is the equivalent of about 16,996 doses, in a backpack. The backpack also contained a loaded 9mm handgun and an additional 51 rounds of ammunition.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin Rubich prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and the FBI Transnational Organized Crime West Task Force.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws, and Project Safe Neighborhoods, the USDOJ’s initiative to reduce violent crime. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, violent crime in Montana increased by 48% from 2013 through 2019. Through these initiatives, federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement partners in Montana focus on violent crime driven by methamphetamine trafficking, armed robbers, firearms offenses and violent offenders with outstanding warrants.