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Federal drug charges pending against Mabton pair

BILLINGS, MONT. - Two Mabton residents are in federal custody on charges of conspiracy to distribute meth and possession with intent to distribute on two Indian reservations in Montana.

One of the Mabton residents, Connie Ann Solis, 35, has pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine on the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Indian reservations. Solis is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 26 in Montana.

The other is Arthur Frankie Gomez, 35, who has pled not guilty and will face a federal trial in Montana starting July 12.

Solis and Gomez, if he is convicted, face mandatory minimum sentencing of 10 years in prison and could be sentenced to life.

In addition, they could face a $4 million fine and at least five years of supervised release.

According to testimony she provided to the U.S. Department of Justice, Solis said she and a co-conspirator in April 2009 began delivering meth to an individual in Billings, Mont. Solis did not name Gomez as her co-conspirator, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

Law enforcement officials in Billings conducted surveillance during the summer and fall of 2009, leading them to believe that Solis and her co-conspirator delivered meth on four different occasions.

Solis and her co-conspirator were arrested outside of Billings in December 2009, according to justice officials.

According to testimony provided by the Justice Department, Solis said she and her co-conspirator were paid $2,000 per trip to deliver meth.

The investigation that led to the arrest of Solis and Gomez was a cooperative effort between the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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