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Press Release

Northern Hills Drug Traffickers Sentenced

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

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Spearfish, South Dakota, man and woman convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance, were recently sentenced by Chief Judge Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Court.

Enrique Estrada, Jr., a/k/a Ricky Estrada, age 43, was sentenced on December 5, 2019, to 20 years in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Kari Lee Vaughn, a/k/a/ Kari Drury, age 35, was sentenced on December 18, 2019, to 15 years in federal prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Estrada and Vaughn were indicted by a federal grand jury in September 2018. The charge relates to Estrada, Vaughn, and others distributing multiple pounds of methamphetamine in western South Dakota, primarily in the Northern Hills, between October 2017 and September 2018. Estrada coordinated several co-conspirators to obtain methamphetamine from the state of Colorado, then transport it to South Dakota and distribute it. Vaughn wired money for Estrada and traveled to Colorado, to assist in obtaining the methamphetamine. She further distributed the methamphetamine for Estrada, as well. Much of the methamphetamine was distributed out of Estrada’s home in Spearfish.

This investigation was led by the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation with the assistance from the Deadwood Police Department, Spearfish Police Department, Belle Fourche Police Department, South Dakota Highway Patrol, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, Butte County Sheriff’s Office, and members from the Unified Narcotics Enforcement Team (UNET). Additional arrests were also made at the State and Federal level in connection to this investigation. The case was prosecuted by Gina S. Nelson, Assistant U.S. Attorney.

Estrada and Vaughn were immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Updated December 23, 2019

Drug Trafficking