Billings man admits meth trafficking, firearms crimes
BILLINGS – Billings resident Chad Allen Beres admitted methamphetamine trafficking and firearm crimes during a hearing today, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Beres, 32, pleaded guilty 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.
Beres faces a minimum mandatory 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release on the drug counts. He also faces a mandatory consecutive five years to life in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on the firearm count.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan presided and will recommend Beres plea be accepted by U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters, who is hearing the case. Beres is detained.
In a court document filed in the case, the prosecution said evidence would show that Billings Police Department officers arrested co-defendant Christopher Hurst at a hotel on Feb. 27, 2018. During a search of the room, officers found meth and a firearm. Hurst admitted receiving from four to eight ounces of meth nearly every day from his suppliers and that he had received at least 15 pounds of meth that he distributed.
Agents identified Beres as a supplier of Hurst’s and also learned that co-defendant Larry Barnett also got meth from Beres. Agents served a search warrant on Beres’ residence and seized about 700 grams of meth, which is about 1.5 pounds and the equivalent of about 5,600 doses. Agents also seized three shotguns and two handguns.
Hurst and Barnett have pleaded guilty to charges and are awaiting sentencing. A fourth co-defendant, Maurice Fregia, has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin Rubich is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, the FBI and BPD.
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.