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MISSOULA — A Washington man who admitted to bringing methamphetamine to the Flathead Indian Reservation for redistribution was sentenced on Tuesday to 10 years in prison plus five years of supervised release, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said in a statement. 

Alberto Escareno-Sanchez, 27, of Sunnyside, Washington, pleaded guilty in March to possession with intent to distribute meth.

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The government alleged that Flathead Tribal Police officers pulled over a vehicle in which Escareno-Sanchez was a passenger in January 2019. During a later search of the vehicle pursuant to a warrant, investigators found meth, a firearm, and other drug paraphernalia. 

In July 2020, law enforcement served a search warrant on Escareno-Sanchez’s residence and found meth, heroin, two handguns, and $14,286 in currency. Escareno-Sanchez told law enforcement that the drugs, a gun, and the money belonged to him. Confidential informants also indicated to law enforcement that Escareno-Sanchez made trips to Washington to get meth for distribution on the Flathead Reservation.

U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara J. Elliott prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Northwest Drug Task Force and Homeland Security Investigations.

The case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. Through the project, federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement partners in Montana focus on violent crime driven by methamphetamine trafficking, armed robbers, firearms offenses and violent offenders with outstanding warrants.

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