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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Washington man admits trafficking meth, fentanyl to Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation

GREAT FALLS — A Washington man suspected of bringing methamphetamine and fentanyl pills to the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation for distribution admitted to a trafficking crime today, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Hugo Gutierrez Rodriguez, aka Victor aka Juice, 42, of Yakima, Washington, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. Rodriguez faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing was set for Jan. 26, 2023. Rodriguez was detained pending further proceedings.

The government alleged in court documents that in May 2021, a Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation resident was found to possess fentanyl pills. An investigation determined that a group of men in Yakima, Washington, were selling meth and fentanyl on the reservation and that Rodriguez was identified as one of these men. In February, investigators conducted a controlled buy of fentanyl pills and meth from Rodriguez in Yakima. Drugs from the controlled buy included approximately 73 grams of meth and 400 fentanyl pills. Investigators further learned that Rodriguez was bringing more drugs to Montana. Idaho State Police located and stopped Rodriguez, who was driving with one passenger. The passenger said he and Rodriguez were bringing drugs to someone in Box Elder, located on Rocky Boy’s. Officers found approximately 149 grams of meth and more than 300 fentanyl pills in a search of the vehicle.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan R. Plaut is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, Tri-Agency Task Force, Rocky Boy’s Police Department and Idaho State Police.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Indian Country Law and Justice
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Clair Johnson Howard Public Affairs Officer 406-247-4623
Press Release Number: 
22-224
Updated September 13, 2022