News release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana
MISSOULA —A Mexican citizen admitted today to allegations that he trafficked fentanyl in the Kalispell area after law enforcement seized 12,000 fentanyl pills, more than $72,000 in U.S. currency and a pistol from his vehicle, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
Cuauhtemoc Cervantes Samaniego, 30, pleaded guilty to a superseding information charging him with possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. Samaniego faces a mandatory minimum of five years to 40 years in prison, a $5 million fine and at least four years of supervised release.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto presided. A sentencing date was set for Sept. 21 before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Samaniego was detained pending further proceedings.
The government alleged in court documents that Samaniego trafficked fentanyl in the Kalispell community from about May 2022 through Oct. 5, 2022. Investigators received information in October that Samaniego was in Kalispell with a large amount of fentanyl to distribute. At about 2:50 a.m. on Oct. 5, law enforcement officers located Samaniego at a gas station in Kalispell and searched his vehicle. Officers found 12,000 fentanyl pills, $72,687 in U.S. currency and a 9mm pistol. An individual later told an agent that Samaniego had met with a person prior to law enforcement stopping him and that Samaniego had provided the person fentanyl pills. The person gave Samaniego a firearm.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer S. Clark is prosecuting the case. Homeland Security Investigations and the Montana Highway Patrol conducted the investigation.
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