Due to the lapse in appropriations, Department of Justice websites will not be regularly updated. The Department’s essential law enforcement and national security functions will continue. Please refer to the Department of Justice’s contingency plan for more information.

You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Montana

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sean Michael Vaira Pleads Guilty In U.S. Federal Court

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on November 26, 2013, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn S. Ostby, SEAN MICHAEL VAIRA, a 30-year-old resident of Billings, pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Sentencing has been set for March 13, 2014. He is currently detained.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph E. Thaggard, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

In early 2013, the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation (MDCI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (Drug Enforcement Administration), and Sidney Police Department began to investigate a drug trafficking network operating in Sidney and Fairview. That investigation revealed VAIRA was involved in the drug trafficking network;

On August 7, 2013, when interviewed by MDCI agents, VAIRA stated that, in approximately December 2012, he met a methamphetamine dealer based in Sidney.a VAIRA stated that between approximately late December 2012 or early January 2013 and mid-March 2013, he drove that drug dealer to meetings in Butte and Missoula at which the drug dealer obtained a total of approximately one and one-half pounds of methamphetamine and which the drug dealer then distributed in Big Timber and Sidney.

VAIRA stated that in approximately mid-April 2013, he obtained approximately seven grams of methamphetamine from a drug dealer in Fairview and distributed the methamphetamine.

VAIRA stated that, several days later, at the behest of that drug dealer, he drove to Butte and obtained one-half pound of methamphetamine. VAIRA stated he drove that methamphetamine to Sidney and distributed some of the drugs to the Fairview-based drug dealer and some of the drugs to others he knew in the Sidney area.

VAIRA stated that several days later, he drove to Butte and obtained another half-pound of methamphetamine, which he later distributed to the Fairview-based drug dealer and other drug dealers in the Sidney area.

VAIRA faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and could be sentenced to life, a $1,000,000 fine, and 3 years supervised release. .

Today's change of plea is a product of diligent work by the very dedicated agents who have been joined together under the banner of Project Safe Bakken. As the work of this team - which includes law enforcement professionals from all branches of local, state, and federal law enforcement - goes forward, the people of Montana and North Dakota can expect more cases from affected communities. That is the mission and commitment of Project Safe Bakken." said U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter.

This investigation was a part of Project Safe Bakken, which is a cooperative effort between the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the U.S. Border Patrol, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division (EPA-CID), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation (MDCI), the Montana Highway Patrol, the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), the Billings Police Department, the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office, the Sidney Police Department, and the Idaho State Police.

Updated January 14, 2015