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32 pounds of meth found in Billings residence leads to federal drug conspiracy convictions

Posted at 1:20 PM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 22:22:00-05

BILLINGS – A Billings man admitted conspiracy charges Tuesday after agents investigating methamphetamine trafficking found 32 pounds of meth and $11,380 in cash at his residence.

Byrne Martin Mestas, 62, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth, according a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Montana. Mestas faces a minimum mandatory 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release.

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

Law enforcement served a search warrant at Schuster’s and Mestas’ trailer on May 3, 2019. Agents found in the residence 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.