Washington Man Sentenced to Over 12 Years in Prison for Trafficking over 60 Pounds of Methamphetamine into Montana
BILLINGS - The United States Attorney’s Office announced today that Juan Ramon Delgadillo-Meza, a 41 year-old resident of Ephrata, Washington, was sentenced to 151 months in prison, 5 years of supervised release, and a $200 special assessment. The sentence also includes a $1.3 million dollar money judgment. Delgadillo-Meza was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 1956(h). U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided over the hearing.
In mid-June of 2015, agents with the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Big Sky Safe Streets Task Force began an investigation into a methamphetamine trafficking organization responsible for transporting methamphetamine from Washington into Belgrade and Billings, Montana for distribution. Agents identified Juan Ramon Delgadillo-Meza as one of the individuals who transports methamphetamine from Washington to Montana.
In August 2015, agents conducted surveillance and saw Delgadillo-Meza meet with an individual in Billings who was later identified as one of Delgadillo-Meza’s distributors. Agents then learned through hotel records, surveillance video and surveillance that Delgadillo-Meza continued to travel to Montana from September through November.
On November 15, 2015, a Montana Highway Patrol Trooper stopped Delgadillo-Meza for a traffic violation near Manhattan. The vehicle was later searched pursuant to a warrant and approximately 886 grams of pure methamphetamine was seized.
The investigation continued into January 2016 when agents searched the residences of Delgadillo-Meza’s distributors in Billings and Belgrade. During those searches, agents seized approximately 356 grams of pure methamphetamine from a storage facility in Billings.
Sources later confirmed that Delgadillo-Meza began traveling to Billings in 2014 and would transport two pounds of methamphetamine every two weeks. He sold each pound of methamphetamine for approximately $12,500.
Delgadillo-Meza’s Montana distributors were previously convicted and sentenced for narcotics and money laundering offenses in U.S. District Court. The sentence for one of the distributors included the forfeiture of his house, vehicle, and U.S. Currency held in a bank account.
The Delgadillo-Meza case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, and multiple other federal, state, and local agencies.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement to identify those responsible for significant violent crime in Montana. A centerpiece of this effort is Project Safe Neighborhoods, a recently reinvigorated Department of Justice program that has proven to be successful in reducing violent crime. Today’s sentencing is part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program.