Meth Conspiracy Ringleader Sentenced To 87 Months Behind Bars
The head of a Casper-based statewide methamphetamine ring was sentenced to more than seven years imprisonment in federal court in Casper on Tuesday.
In October, Ernie Paul Montoya Sr. — also known as Ernest Montoya —pleaded guilty to conspiracy, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and money laundering, according to court records.
Montoya's sentence was among others recently in the conspiracy with six other defendants who distributed methamphetamine from Gillette to Rawlins.
U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl sentenced Montoya to 87 months for each count to be served concurrently, plus eight years probation. Skavdahl, in agreement with prosecutors, dismissed two counts of aiding and abetting distribution of the drug.
Montoya is in his late 60s, according to court records.
During his plea on Oct. 1, Montoya said he would drive from Casper to Salt Lake City and obtain quantities of more than 500 grams — 17.9 ounces — and return to Wyoming and distribute them to other co-conspirators for selling in Casper, Gillette, Riverton and Rawlins.
Sometimes he would sell local dealers the drugs for cash, and sometimes he would “front” the drugs without payment until the sellers received their money and then repaid him, he said.
Montoya and the other defendants — Gregg Denny, Delza McKannan, Royce Moritz, James Brown and Daryll “Auggie” Giron — would communicate by cell phone regarding the sale, availability and price of the drugs, according to this count in the superseding indictment filed in the court on July 22.
On the second count of possession with intent to distribute, Montoya said he was stopped by law enforcement outside Farson on Nov. 10, 2013, when the drugs were found.
Regarding the money laundering count, he said he would send money orders for the proceeds of the receipts to Giron, who was Montoya’s source in Salt Lake City.
The most recent sentencing happened Wednesday, when Skavdahl sentenced Denny to 10 years behind bars.
Friday, McKannan was sentenced to seven years imprisonment.
Brown was sentenced to 10 years and 10 months on Nov. 7.
Giron was sentenced to eight-and-a half years on Oct. 23.
Preston Montoya was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on Oct. 1.
Moritz's sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 9.