A resident of Butte suspected of being involved in the reception of illicitly imported pill presses from China and the trafficking of various narcotics, including cocaine, has admitted to a drug-related offense, according to U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich.

David Jesus Tapia-Padron, aged 33, pleaded guilty to the charge of possessing controlled substances with the intent to distribute.


Potential Charges

Facing a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison, along with a potential $5 million fine and a minimum of three years of supervised release, Tapia-Padron's admission occurred today.

During the proceedings presided over by U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto, it was decided that sentencing would take place on April 10, 2024, before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen.

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The court will determine the final sentence, considering various factors, including the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Tapia-Padron was released pending further legal processes.

Case Details

According to court documents, the government's allegations revolve around illegally importing two industrial tablet presses from China to a warehouse in Anaconda in September 2022.

The Drug Enforcement Administration intercepted and subsequently delivered these presses.

The investigation revealed that co-defendant Austin King-Terrell of Butte had ordered these presses for Tapia-Padron and provided them to him.

Upon searching Tapia-Padron's residence, law enforcement officers discovered substantial quantities of marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms, and a vacuum-sealed package containing one kilogram of cocaine.

Additionally, distribution paraphernalia, a money counter, and money bands were found throughout the premises.

Further investigation unveiled that Tapia-Padron had compensated King-Terrell for purchasing what was referred to as a "kief press," a device used to process concentrated marijuana.

Tapia-Padron regularly engaged in the sale of marijuana to King-Terrell and also offered psilocybin mushrooms.

King-Terrell has recently pleaded guilty to the illegal importation of a tableting machine and awaits sentencing.

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