MISSOULA — A Missoula pair convicted of drug trafficking and firearm crimes each were sentenced to prison terms after law enforcement seized more than seven pounds of meth, fentanyl and firearms during the investigation, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
Carlos Guatimea Augirre, 36, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. Aguirre pleaded guilty in May 2022 to possession with intent to distribute meth and fentanyl and to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Co-defendant Savannah Shoshana Smith, 38, was sentenced to five years and six months in prison, to be followed by four years of supervised release. Smith pleaded guilty in May 2022 to possession with intent to distribute meth and fentanyl and to addict in possession of firearms and ammunition.
U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided.
In court documents, the government alleged that law enforcement served a search warrant on the residence of Smith and Aguirre on Oct. 6, 2021. Officers also conducted a traffic stop of Aguirre to execute a search warrant on the car and found a quarter pound of meth packaged for sale and a 9mm handgun that Aguirre had removed from his body when he was stopped. Inside the residence, officers found approximately 6.9 pounds of meth and fentanyl pills. Seven pounds of meth is the equivalent of about 25,368 doses. Law enforcement also found 21 firearms throughout the residence. Records showed that Smith purchased 22 firearms between February 2020 and August 2021. Smith told officers that Aguirre would give her meth and she would trade the meth for opiate pills. The investigation showed that Aguirre made numerous wire transfers totaling about $22,000 from August 2019 to September 2021 to addresses in Billings; Fresno, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Albuquerque, New Mexico. In addition, Aguirre traveled multiple times to Fresno, where he also maintained a residence and had active links to gangs, and Sacramento, California, and to Spokane, Washington. Three of the firearms, all 9mm pistols, that Smith purchased in Montana were recovered in Fresno in three separate criminal investigations that had gang associations.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer S. Clark prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations and the Missoula Police Department.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.