GREAT FALLS — A Washington man admitted to a drug trafficking crime today after law enforcement seized more than five pounds of methamphetamine along with other drugs from his vehicle near Great Falls last year, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
Jorge Perez, aka Chicago, 41, of Spokane, Washington, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. Perez 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 Feb. 16, 2023. Perez was detained pending further proceedings.
The government alleged in court documents that in March 2022, witnesses in Great Falls reported to law enforcement that they had been working with Perez to bring large quantities of meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl from Spokane to the Great Falls area for distribution. The FBI’s investigation identified the vehicle Perez was driving and, with assistance from local law enforcement, stopped the vehicle outside of Great Falls on June 11, 2022. Perez was the driver and sole occupant and had more than $4,000 cash on his person. Perez admitted there were pounds of drugs in the vehicle. Law enforcement seized approximately five pounds of meth, which is the equivalent of 18,120 doses, along with cocaine and fentanyl pills. In a second traffic stop in which Perez was a passenger, law enforcement found meth, cocaine and heroin in the vehicle. In a third traffic stop, on the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation, in which Perez was the driver and sole passenger, law enforcement found meth, cocaine and fentanyl.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan R. Plaut is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, Great Falls Police Department, Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, Montana Highway Patrol and Chippewa Cree Law Enforcement.
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.
Clair Johnson Howard
Public Affairs Officer