NewsCrime and Courts


Last defendant in major Butte drug trafficking case sentenced to eight years in prison

Tavares was among 22 people convicted in the drug trafficking case
Posted at 4:29 PM, Feb 21, 2023

A California man was sentenced to eight years in prison after admitting he shipped methamphetamine from the Sinaloa Cartel into the Butte community for redistribution.

Heriberto Tavares, 30, pleaded guilty in October 2022 to possession with intent to distribute meth.

The government alleged in court documents that Tavares served as a stash house for the Sinaloa Cartel from November 2018 to November 2019. At times, Tavares had 20 pounds of meth—the equivalent of 72,480 doses—in his home.

Tavares shipped drugs for the cartel from Mexico into the United States, according to court documents.

An undercover operation led to the conviction of Humberto Villareal, of Sinaloa, Mexico for meth trafficking in the Butte area.

In July 2019, law enforcement received a package sent by Tavares containing 474 grams, about one pound of meth and heroin. Agents paid for the drugs Tavares sent by wiring money to Ricardo Ramos Medina, in Sinaloa, Mexico. Medina was sentenced in 2020 to eight years in federal prison for trafficking meth and other drugs in the Butte area.

Tavares was indicted as part of an investigation into a large-scale drug trafficking organization bringing large quantities of meth, counterfeit oxycodone pills, and heroin into Butte for redistribution across the state.

The investigation resulted in the conviction of 22 people. Tavares is the last defendant to be sentenced.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Postal Service, Homeland Security Investigations, Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, and Butte-Silver Bow Police and the case was prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon.