BUTTE — David Jesus Tapia-Padron, 33 of Butte, pleaded guilty on Monday to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana.
The release said that in September 2022, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) suspected Tapia-Padron as the recipient of illegally imported pill presses from China that were ordered by his co-defendant, Austin King-Terrell.
During a search of Tapia-Padron’s residence, DEA agents reportedly found large quantities of marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms, and a package containing one kilogram of cocaine. According to the release, the agents also found “distribution paraphernalia, a money counter and money bands throughout the home.”
The investigation also determined that Tapia-Padron paid King-Terrell to buy a press to make kief, a highly concentrated form of marijuana. The release said Tapia-Padron also regularly sold King-Terrell marijuana and offered him psilocybin mushrooms. King-Terrell currently awaits sentencing after pleading guilty recently to illegal importation of a tableting machine.
Tapia-Padron was released pending his sentencing, which is scheduled for April 10, 2024. He faces a mandatory minimum of five to 40 years in prison, a $5 million fine, and at least three years of supervised release.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto presided over the case, which was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Karla E. Painter. The DEA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation.