BILLINGS – A Billings man accused in a sex and drug trafficking conspiracy and of brandishing a firearm during an assault over a botched drug deal admitted multiple crimes today, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
Mario Juan Drake, 32, pleaded guilty to a second superseding information charging him with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and ecstasy, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and use of a facility in interstate commerce in aid of racketeering. Drake faces a maximum 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and at least three years of supervised release on the drug crime and a mandatory minimum seven years in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release consecutive to any other sentence on the firearms crime.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan presided. A sentencing date is pending before U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters. Drake was detained pending further proceedings.
In court documents, the government alleged that in 2019, Drake, co-defendant D’Javon King and others conspired to distribute illegal narcotics, including cocaine and ecstasy. Multiple witnesses and social media involved Drake, King and others in this conspiracy. On April 24, 2019, a struggle ensued between a buyer, identified as A.L., and two distributors, identified as A.R. and K.H., during an attempted distribution of ecstasy at a Billings motel. The buyer assaulted A.R. and left the scene. In response, Drake, King and others arranged a meeting with A.L. during which they assaulted A.L. while holding firearms. Drake brandished a firearm during the assault and later he, King and others informed A.R. and K.H. that they had retaliated against A.L. in response to the failed drug transaction. King pleaded guilty to charges in the case and is pending sentencing.
The government further alleged that in April and May 2019, two women, identified as Jane Doe 3 and Jane Doe 5, were both engaged in commercial sex with Drake and also were intimately involved with him. Drake used his cell phone to assist with commercial sex dates for Jane Does 3 and 5 by receiving and posting photos of the Does for advertisements, setting pricing for calls and communicating with sex date customers for both Does. Drake would accompany the Does to hotels and would use a timer during the calls. If the calls went past the time, Drake would enter the room.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zeno B. Baucus and Bryan T. Dake are prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. Through PSN, 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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