A Billings man admitted to drug-trafficking charges Wednesday after agents found 30 pounds of meth, worth nearly a quarter million, in his vehicle during a search last spring, according to U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme.
Jerry Ray Schuster, 56, pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth and to possession with intent to distribute meth. Schuster faces a minimum mandatory of 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release.
After investigating meth trafficking in the area, law enforcement searched a trail occupied by Schuster and Byrne Mestas, 62, in May 2019, Alme said in a news release. Mestas has pleaded not guilty to charges related to the search.
Agents found one pound of meth, drug paraphernalia and receipts indicating a trip to California, according to prosecutors.
Three days later, agents returned to search vehicles on the property and found 30 pounds of meth in three backpacks (street value of $225,000), $11,380 in cash and additional California receipts in a Suzuki Swift registered to Schuster. Agents found another pound of meth, 100 pills and cash in other vehicles.
Thirty pounds of meth is the equivalent of about 108,720 doses.
U.S. District Judge Susan Watters presided and set sentencing for May 7. Schuster was released pending further court proceedings.