MISSOULA — A Texas resident to admitted to drug trafficking and firearms crimes after a traffic stop near Bozeman led to a trooper finding marijuana, cocaine and guns in his vehicle was sentenced today to five and one half years in prison and three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Anthony Jacob Lugo, 32, of Halingen, Texas, pleaded guilty in January to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided. Lugo was detained.
In court records filed in the case, the prosecution said a Montana Highway Patrol trooper pulled over Lugo’s pickup truck on Interstate 90 near Bozeman on Aug. 28, 2017. The trooper detected a strong odor of raw marijuana coming from the cab. When the trooper had Lugo step out of the vehicle, he saw a pistol in a holster on the driver’s seat. A K9 drug dog indicated on the truck, which was seized pending a search warrant.
During a search of the truck, law enforcement found jars of marijuana and cocaine, a drug ledger, a loaded .45-caliber pistol and a short-barreled rifle. Lugo admitted to owning the firearms.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Racicot and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Bartleson prosecuted the case, which was investigated by Missouri River Drug Task Force and the Montana Highway Patrol.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws, and Project Safe Neighborhoods, the USDOJ’s initiative to reduce violent crime. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, violent crime in Montana increased by 36% from 2013 through 2018. Through these initiatives, 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.