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Press Release

Tanya Marie Nava Sentenced In U.S. District Court

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on January 16, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, TANYA MARIE NAVA, a 38-year-old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. NAVA was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 262 months

Special Assessment: $100

Supervised Release: 5 years

NAVA was sentenced in connection with her guilty plea to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

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

On September 16, 2009, law enforcement arranged a controlled drug purchase utilizing a Confidential Human Source (CHS). The transaction was set for Grass Range and the CHS made arrangements with Lisa Martinez to set up the deal. Martinez told the CHS that she would be bringing two subjects with her and identified the vehicle in which they would be traveling. Later that evening, the CHS met Lisa Martinez, Lawrence "Larry" Kopp and NAVA at a gas station in Grass Range. The CHS noted that s/he handed Martinez $4,400 for two ounces of methamphetamine and that Larry Kopp was driving and NAVA was in the front passenger seat. After the transaction was completed, a uniformed deputy in Mussellshell County stopped the vehicle for a traffic violation and positively identified all three subjects. Kopp, NAVA, and Martinez, acting in concert, distributed 43.2 grams of 49.4% methamphetamine or 21.3 grams of actual methamphetamine, a Schedule II controlled substance.

On September 28, 2009, the same CHS made telephonic contact with Martinez again for the purpose of purchasing one ounce of methamphetamine in Billings. The following day, on September 29, 2009, the CHS called Martinez again, and she told the CHS to come to her residence in Billings. After arriving at the location, the CHS made contact again with Martinez, Larry Kopp, and NAVA. On the body wire recording, NAVA and Larry Kopp could be heard weighing the methamphetamine out together, as they were having a disagreement as to how much was in an ounce. NAVA and Kopp were acting in concert and aided and abetted each other in weighing out the one ounce of methamphetamine that was to be distributed to the CHS. The CHS ended up purchasing 26.9 grams of 47.9% methamphetamine or 12.8 grams of actual methamphetamine, a Schedule II controlled substance, for $2,400 cash. After the CHS left, it was realized that a digital scale belonging to the Drug Task Force was left there.

On October 23, 2009, the CHS set up another methamphetamine purchase. The CHS agreed to meet CG, who resided with NAVA, Larry Kopp, and Lisa Martinez in Roundup. The CHS met with CG, who was driven to the meet by Joseph Lira with NAVA in the vehicle. The purchase consisted of two ounces of methamphetamine for $4,200. Lira was positively identified as the driver of the vehicle during an interview with CG. CG advised Lira knew the trip to Roundup was for a methamphetamine deal.

On November 12, 2009, the CHS spoke again with CG, and advised that s/he would be sending a friend of theirs to pick the drugs up in Billings. This "friend" was an undercover agent (UA). The UA made telephonic contact with CG on NAVA's cell phone and arranged to meet at a parking lot in Billings. CG called the UA and stated he was standing in front of the store, and the UA picked him up. After the three ounces of methamphetamine and $7,500 was exchanged, the UA dropped CG off around the corner at another business.

Surveillance units observed CG exit the business with NAVA and another person, and the three got into a pickup and left the area. The vehicle was followed and a traffic stop was conducted on it. All three subjects were detained and questioned, but all refused to cooperate. Most of the original buy money was recovered in NAVA's purse ($7,200), with the remaining $300 found in CG's purse.

On November 24, 2009, a search warrant was executed on NAVA's vehicle after it was impounded by the Billings Police Department. During a search of the vehicle, items of drug paraphernalia were located. Additionally, the digital scale that the FBI CHS left at NAVA's residence on the September 29 drug deal was located in the car.

Larry Kopp, Lisa Martinez, and Joseph Lira pled guilty to federal charges and have been sentenced.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that NAVA will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, NAVA does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Billings Big Sky Safe Streets Task Force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Updated January 14, 2015