MHP Traffic Stop Leads to Seizure of 28 lbs. of Meth, Federal Convictions & Disbandment of Drug Smuggling Ring

MHP Traffic Stop Leads to Seizure of 28 lbs. of Meth, Federal Convictions & Disbandment of Drug Smuggling Ring

Miles City, MontanaOn November 8th, 2017 an MHP Criminal Interdiction Trooper stopped a vehicle in Custer County for a traffic violation.  The troopers became suspicious of criminal activity during the traffic stop and a narcotic detecting K9 was deployed around the vehicle.  The MHP K9 and her handler determined that there was the odor of illegal drugs coming from inside of the vehicle.  A search warrant was granted by a Montana District Court Judge and the vehicle was searched.  Approximately 28.8 pounds of methamphetamine and 6 pounds of marijuana were located inside a sophisticated concealed compartment within the vehicle.  The drugs were being smuggled from California to North Dakota by the 25-year-old female driver (Cynthia Lozano of Merced, California) and her 21-year-old male passenger (Justin Sua of Merced, California).  Ms. Lozano and Mr. Sua were arrested and transported to the Custer County Detention Facility in Miles City.

The case was further investigated by Montana DCI, DEA and other out-of-state authorities in California and North Dakota.  Ms. Lozano was convicted in US Federal Court and received a sentence of 5 years to be followed by 5 years of probation.  Mr. Sua was convicted for a separate, yet related charge in Custer County.  Nine additional federal indictments resulted from this case. Multiple additional pounds of methamphetamine were seized in North Dakota and three individuals were federally prosecuted there. Six individuals were prosecuted federally in California, including the ringleader who was running the criminal operation while already imprisoned. Speaking of the sentences, Lieutenant Jim Sanderson with the Montana Highway Patrol said, “We were pleased with the outcome given the expansive and complex nature of the case and circumstances surrounding it.”

We would like to thank Montana DCI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Custer County Sheriff’s Office, The Custer County Attorney and the Montana U.S. Attorney’s Office for their steadfast diligence and hard work which lead to the significant disruption of this criminal organization.

To preserve the integrity of the investigation and subsequent criminal proceedings, information about this case has not been released until today. Upon formal adjudication of the case, this information is released with the cooperation of all involved agencies.

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