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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Sioux Falls Meth Dealers Sentenced to Federal Prison in Multi-State Drug Conspiracy

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that Alvin Felicianosoto, age 34, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who was convicted of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, was sentenced to 210 months in federal prison on July 9, 2018, by U.S. District Court Judge Karen E. Schreier.  Co-conspirator Orlando Dones-Vargas, age 32, of Sioux Falls, who was convicted of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, was sentenced by Judge Schreier to 235 months in federal prison on July 16, 2018.

“These convictions and substantial prison sentences are the result of phenomenal detective work by our law enforcement partners on the Sioux Falls Area Drug Task Force,” said U.S. Attorney Parsons.  “We are united in our efforts to eliminate this destructive poison from our communities and to hold those who bring it here accountable for their criminal acts.”

Both sentences will be followed by five years of supervised release.  The men were also ordered to each pay $200 to the Federal Crime Victim’s Fund.  Dones-Vargas was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 6, 2017.  He was found guilty after a jury trial on January 31, 2018.  Felicianosoto was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 6, 2017, and was found guilty after a jury trial on February 14, 2018.

The investigation of Felicianosoto and Dones-Vargas revealed their joint involvement in a multi-state drug ring that was responsible for transporting more than 50 pounds of meth to South Dakota.  Each pound of meth provides over 1,000 doses (illegal uses) for typical users.

A search warrant was executed at Felicianosoto’s home in Sioux Falls, where law enforcement found about 100 grams of meth in his garage, in addition to the more than 100 grams of meth that he was carrying in his pocket when he was arrested.  Law enforcement found an additional four pounds of meth, along with four cocked and loaded handguns, hidden under a bed in what appeared to be a children’s bedroom in an apartment used by Dones-Vargas.

Drug trafficking is an inherently violent activity.  Firearms are tools of the trade for drug dealers.  It is common to find drug traffickers armed with guns in order to protect their illegal drug product and cash, and enforce their illegal operations.

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 make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

This case was investigated by the Sioux Falls Area Drug Task Force, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer D. Mammenga prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Component(s): 
Updated August 1, 2018