NewsCrime and Courts


Two Butte men convicted in armed drug trafficking operation

Posted at 2:14 PM, Apr 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-20 16:14:36-04

Two Butte men were sentenced to prison for their involvement in a large armed drug trafficking operation bringing pounds of methamphetamine and other drugs to the Butte community.

Mark Ernest Spani, 65, was sentenced to nine years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.

Stanley Roy Vires, 68, was sentenced to seven years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.

Both defendants pleaded guilty in 2022 to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, prohibited persons in possession of firearms and ammunition, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The government alleged in court documents that in July 2021 law enforcement learned that Spani and Vires were dealing drugs together. Vires reportedly purchased meth through a confidential informant, leading to law enforcement executing a search warren on Vires’ residence.

 At Vires’ residence, law enforcement allegedly found about five pounds of meth, a little more than one pound of heroin, 26 firearms, and cash.

 In June 2022, law enforcement searched properties owned by Spani and found one pound of meth, cash, and firearms.

The government also alleged that Spani was involved in dealing meth, heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine. Spani allegedly traveled out of state and brought drugs back to Montana, carrying guns while trafficking.

The government alleged that Vires was also involved in dealing meth and heroin. Vires admitted to receiving about 15 pounds of meth, equivalent to 54,360 doses, in 2020 and 2021.

 The government also alleged that Vires, Spani, and others conspired to conceal money and used cash proceeds to buy additional drugs.

Under a forfeiture count, Vires and Spani agreed to forfeit a residence in Butte, a 1955 Chevrolet 210 vehicle, a 2013 Harley Davidson Tri Glide Ultra Classic motorcycle, a 2019 Harley Davidson Tri Glide Ultra Classic, a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado K1500 pickup, a 2022 Dodge Ram 3500 Big Horn, a 2011 Montana 5th Wheel, and $33,346 in U.S. Currency.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon and investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, and Butte Police Department