MIL-OSI Security: Federal, Local Law Enforcement Disrupt Meth Traffickers Based in Park County

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Source: United States Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

BILLINGS, Mont. — Investigations by federal and local law enforcement agencies into methamphetamine traffickers who attempted to set up base in Livingston in Park County have resulted in federal drug convictions, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich announced today.

During a press conference at the Park County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Building in Livingston, U.S. Attorney Laslovich, along with federal, local and drug task force partners, discussed the dismantling of a drug ring that brought large quantities of meth from Idaho to Livingston for redistribution in Park and Gallatin counties and elsewhere. Joining the U.S. Attorney were officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Park County Sheriff’s Office and Missouri River Drug Task Force.

“As these investigations show, Montana’s smaller and more rural communities, like Livingston, are not immune from drug traffickers who bring in meth from out of state and try to enlist local addicts and dealers to redistribute drugs. Without local lower-level dealers willing to sell for larger suppliers, these larger suppliers would not have a way to push their drugs to individual users. The collaborative work of the Park County Sheriff’s Office, the Missouri River Drug Task Force (MRDTF), and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was critical to the investigation and federal prosecution of these cases. Our work is ongoing and regardless of the size of the Montana community, we will continue to aggressively prosecute drug traffickers poisoning our communities,” U.S. Attorney Laslovich said.

“Violent crime can swiftly overwhelm any community, ending its sense of safety, victimizing countless individuals, and inflicting economic losses on businesses,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Brent Beavers. “Now, more than ever, it is imperative for local, state and federal law enforcement, alongside our communities, to remain united and steadfast in efforts to detect, disrupt, and combat violent crime.”

“The Sheriff’s Office and our partners are committed to dismantling the drug trade in Park County,” Park County Sheriff Brad Bichler said. “Strong partnerships are invaluable when taking on a mission of this magnitude, and we are lucky to have a group who are working together to achieve our goals and objectives. We will continue to remove this poison and those who deal in it from Park County.”

“The Missouri River Drug Task Force is proud of the work done on these investigations. This is a great example of what can be accomplished through collaborative efforts between local, state, and federal agencies,” said MRDTF Commander Nate Kamerman, who is the investigations captain with the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office. “MRDTF’s focus is on interstate Drug Trafficking Organizations, but these investigations nearly always begin with data gathered at the local level. The presence of a Park County Sheriff’s Office deputy on the MRDTF not only set the foundation for our involvement in these investigations, but also allowed for effective communication with our federal partners. MRDTF will continue to work with agencies at every level to provide thoroughly investigated and documented cases, allowing prosecutors to fulfill their role in holding drug traffickers accountable.”

According to court documents, a drug trafficking investigation began in early 2020 when law enforcement learned that defendants Oscar Albert Nevarez, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and co-defendant, James D. Murrieta, of Utica, New York, were bringing meth from outside of Montana to Livingston for redistribution in Park and Gallatin counties and elsewhere in Montana. Murietta and Nevarez were business partners, and Nevarez made approximately five trips to Idaho and back to get meth from a source of supply. Murietta and Nevarez used a Livingston residence as a base from which they supplied local dealers. Law enforcement also bought meth from Murietta in Bozeman and Belgrade in controlled purchases. Nevarez was sentenced to six years in federal prison, while Murietta was sentenced to 56 months in federal prison for their convictions in the case.

In addition, investigations have led to federal charges against other individuals in Park County on various drug trafficking crimes involving meth, fentanyl and heroin and firearms crimes.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas K. Godfrey prosecuted the cases. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Park County Sheriff’s Office and Missouri River Drug Task Force conducted the investigations.

These cases are 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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

 

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Contact

Clair J. Howard

Public Affairs Officer

406-247-4623

Clair.Howard@usdoj.gov

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