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Billings man admits conspiracy charges after 32 pounds of meth found

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Posted at 1:53 PM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 17:43:39-05

GREAT FALLS — Byrne Martin Mestas of Billings admitted conspiracy charges in federal court in Billings on Tuesday after agents investigating meth trafficking found 32 pounds of meth and $11,380 in cash at his residence.

U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said in a news release that Mestas, 62 years old, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth. Mestas faces a minimum of 10 years in prison, a $10 million fine, and at least five years of supervised release.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Cavan presided and recommended that Mestas’ plea be accepted by U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters, who is hearing the case.

The prosecution said in court records that an investigation into meth trafficking led to Mestas and a co-defendant, Jerry Ray Schuster, also of Billings. Schuster pleaded guilty to trafficking crimes in January and is awaiting sentencing.

Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Schuster’s and Mestas’ trailer on May 3, 2019. Inside, agents found a pound of meth, three rifles, drug paraphernalia, and receipts corroborating trips to California. A pound of meth is the equivalent of about 3,624 doses. Thirty two pounds of meth is about 115,968 doses.

Agents served a search warrant three days later on four vehicles at the residence. A search of a Suzuki Swift registered to Schuster revealed 30 pounds of meth located in three backpacks, along with $11,380 in cash and receipts documenting travel to California. In the other three vehicles, agents found about a pound of meth, 100 pills, cash and other items.