Billings tattoo parlor owner sentenced for meth trafficking
BILLINGS—A Billings man convicted of trafficking methamphetamine, including selling the drug at his tattoo parlor, was sentenced today to 15 years and eight months in prison and five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Charles Eugene Venditti, 42, was convicted by a jury in August on all five counts in an indictment, including conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth, possession with intent to distribute meth and three counts of distribution.
Chief U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided.
Prosecutors presented evidence at trial that law enforcement received information in May 2018 that Venditti was distributing meth. An investigation included having a confidential informant make three monitored meth buys from Venditti, including two buys that occurred at Venditti’s tattoo business, at 145 Grand Ave., and one in Venditti’s vehicle. Each purchase was for an ounce of meth for $800.
Law enforcement served search warrants on Venditti’s residence and business and another person’s residence. The search found drug paraphernalia and a small amount of meth at Venditti’s residence.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tom Godfrey and Colin Rubich prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, violent crime in Montana increased by 36% from 2013 to 2018. Through PSN, 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.