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Narcotics
10/01/2015

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Mexican man sentenced in Montana to nearly 13 years in federal prison for conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine

MISSOULA, Mont. — A Mexican man living in California was sentenced Wednesday to 151 months in federal prison for conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Missouri River Drug Task Force, the Montana Highway Patrol, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The indictment and eventual conviction was initiated by a Montana Highway Patrol traffic stop on Angel Iturbe-Gonzales, 37, in Gallatin County in April 2014. During the stop, Gonzales consented to a drug dog being run around his vehicle. The dog alerted for the presence of narcotics. Two search warrants were obtained and a trap in the vehicle was discovered, which contained about 16 pounds of cocaine and more than four pounds each of methamphetamine and heroin. Gonzales was indicted by a grand jury in September 2014 and arrested in California in January 2015.  He was convicted of both counts in April 2015 following a jury trial in Butte, Montana.

“The Missouri River Drug Task Force, and similar task forces across the state expand the law enforcement resources that can be brought to bear against the scourge of meth in Montana,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Cotter, District of Montana. “Working together, law enforcement partners have more tools to bring to bear against the social and economic toll Meth takes here. A sentence like this sends a pointed message to the criminals who come to this state with the goal of distributing poisonous wares; that such activity will not be tolerated in Montana.”

“Homeland Security Investigations aggressively pursues international organized crime globally and here in Montana,” said David A. Thompson, special agent in charge of HSI Denver. “Bringing Gonzalez to justice to face a significant prison sentence was a collaborative partnership among HSI, the U.S. Attorney’s office, the Missouri River Drug Task Force, the Montana Highway Patrol and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The strength of these law enforcement partnerships makes our communities safer for everyone.”

The sentences for both counts will run concurrently, and will be followed by five years of supervised release.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara Elliot, District of Montana, prosecuted this case. The defendant must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before being released from federal prison.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 10/02/2015