BILLINGS — A Billings man who admitted his role in promoting commercial sex and his involvement in a drug trafficking conspiracy, which included brandishing a firearm during an assault over a botched drug deal, was sentenced today to 10 years and one month in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
Mario Juan Drake, 33, pleaded guilty in August 2021 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 two counts of use of a facility in interstate commerce in aid of racketeering.
U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided.
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. On April 24, 2019, during an attempted drug deal of ecstasy at a Billings motel, a struggle ensued between a buyer and two distributors. The buyer assaulted one of the distributors and left the scene. In response, Drake, King and others arranged a meeting with the buyer during which they assaulted the individual while holding firearms. Drake brandished a firearm during the assault and later he, King and others informed the two distributors that they had retaliated against the buyer for the failed drug deal. King was sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison following his conviction in the case.
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 calls for both Does by receiving and posting photos of the Does for advertisements, setting pricing for calls and communicating with sex customers for both Does. Drake accompanied the Does to hotels, used a timer during the calls and entered the room if the calls went past the timer.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zeno B. Baucus and Benjamin D. Hargrove, prosecuted 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.