GREAT FALLS — A jury on Wednesday convicted Charles Eugene Venditti of Billings of methamphetamine trafficking crimes, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said in a press release.
The trial began on Monday, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The jury found Venditti, 42 years old, guilty of all five counts in an indictment, including conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth, possession with intent to distribute meth, and three counts of distribution.
Venditti faces a minimum mandatory 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine, and five years of supervised release.
Chief U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen set sentencing for January 14, 2020. Venditti is being detained until sentencing.
“Mr. Venditti’s conviction sends the message that those who sell meth will be held responsible for pushing this poison in the community. I want to commend the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and the prosecution team for their work on this case,” U.S. Attorney Alme said in a press release.
Prosecutors presented evidence at trial that law enforcement officers received information in May 2018 that Venditti was distributing meth.
Law enforcement worked with a confidential informant to make three monitored meth buys from Venditti. Two of the buys occurred at Venditti’s tattoo business at 145 Grand Avenue in Billings, and one occurred in Venditti’s vehicle. Each purchase was for an ounce of meth for $800.
Law enforcement served search warrants in June 2018 on Venditti’s residence and tattoo business and on another person’s residence. The search found drug paraphernalia and a small amount of meth at Venditti’s residence.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tom Godfrey and Colin Rubich prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force.