Saturday, July 17, 2004

Meth dealer sentenced to 10 years, then ordered deported -

Meth dealer sentenced to 10 years, then ordered deported -

July 17, 2004

Last modified July 17, 2004 - 1:59 am

Meth dealer sentenced to 10 years, then ordered deported
Of The Gazette Staff

A drug dealer who helped bring nearly pure methamphetamine from Utah to the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation for distribution from federal housing will serve 10 years in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull was unmoved by defense arguments that Jose Arturo Tenorio, an illegal alien from Mexico, was only 20, had a sixth-grade education and no criminal history. Or that, while Tenorio was aware of the drugs, he didn't know the quantity and had a minor role in the alleged conspiracy.

On Friday, Cebull sentenced Tenorio to almost the top of the guideline range and ordered him deported when he completes his sentence. The judge dismissed three other counts.

Cebull this week also sentenced two other Lame Deer co-defendants who were convicted in the multicount conspiracy in which suppliers brought meth and marijuana to the reservation from Utah.

Speaking through an interpreter, Tenorio asked the judge to be fair with him and said he would not return to the United States.

"I think you will return,'' Cebull said.

And, the judge continued, he didn't think Tenorio was fair to the people on the reservation. "You were helping to bring poison in the form of methamphetamine ice'' to the reservation, Cebull said.

He said he was "acutely aware'' of the meth problems on Montana's reservations and that it was people like Tenorio who contribute greatly to the problem.

After a hearing to determine drug quantity, Cebull held Tenorio responsible for 127 grams of meth as well as a quantity of marijuana found in a vehicle during a traffic stop by a Billings police officer in April 2003.

Tenorio and three other co-defendants, also illegal aliens from Mexico, were in the vehicle.

The four admitted they were headed with the drugs to Lame Deer on the Northern Cheyenne reservation.

FBI Special Agent Wolfgang Hochholdinger said tests showed that one package of meth from the vehicle was 88 percent pure and a second package was 95 percent pure. Meth, a highly addictive drug, that is more than 80 percent pure is called ice.

Tenorio pleaded guilty in April to a charge of conspiring to distribute drugs.

The government alleged in a multiple-count indictment that the conspiracy involved distributing 210 grams of meth and more than five pounds of marijuana on the reservation and within 1,000 feet of a federal housing project. The drug trafficking occurred from November 2002 to May 2003. The indictment charged 13 people, and all pleaded guilty to various charges.

Cebull also sentenced two co-defendants on Thursday. He sentenced Amber Littlesun, 25, of Lame Deer, to two years' probation for her guilty pleas on two counts of money laundering. Littlesun admitted using Western Union to send $3,000 in drug money to suppliers in Utah.

Cebull sentenced Jennifer Gleason, 38, of Lame Deer, to 18 months in prison and to six years of supervised release. She pleaded guilty to the conspiracy count and said she bought 2 grams of meth from co-defendant Clifford Russell Jr. of Lame Deer and 1 gram of meth from co-defendant Mildred Eaglefeathers of Lame Deer.

Gleason said she also sold the drug to others.


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