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Phoenix man pleads guilty in Montana court to methamphetamine charges

MISSOULA, Mont. — A Phoenix, Ariz., man pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, announced U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter, District of Montana.

Paul Michael Tizio, 33, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen. Sentencing has been set for March 15. Tizio is currently released on special conditions.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

  • Since November 2010, special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and officers from Butte Silver Bow Law Enforcement Agency have been investigating the distribution of methamphetamine in and around Butte, Mont., by Tizio and others, including Gary Sheffield, Julie White, Angella Parker and Michael Young.
  • On Jan. 5, 2011, based on information obtained during that investigation, law enforcement officers searched Sheffield's car and the Sheffield/White residence in Butte. From the house they seized baggies of methamphetamine, surveillance cameras, drug paraphernalia and a Fed-Ex receipt with Parker's name on it. The officers found more methamphetamine in Sheffield's possession during a search of his person and his car outside a nearby casino.
  • Also Jan. 5, 2011, before the search of Sheffield/White's residence, Parker was stopped for a traffic violation and admitted to having just purchased an "8-ball" of methamphetamine from Sheffield. She also admitted that during the course of the conspiracy she had received packages of methamphetamine from Tizio in Arizona that were intended for Sheffield and had shipped money to Arizona as payment for the drugs.
  • Following the events of Jan. 5, 2011, law enforcement officers conducted interviews of witnesses and learned that Tizio was obtaining methamphetamine in Arizona and shipping or otherwise arranging for the transportation of the drugs to Butte. In order to pay for the methamphetamine, money was either shipped back to Tizio in Arizona, delivered to him in person, or deposited into his bank account.

Sheffield, White, Parker and Young pleaded guilty to federal charges and have been sentenced.

Tizio faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and could be sentenced to life, a $10,000,000 fine, and five years' supervised release.