Stolen driver’s license leads to meth convictions in Billings

2013-03-21T16:57:00Z 2013-03-30T18:21:40Z Stolen driver’s license leads to meth convictions in BillingsBy CLAIR JOHNSON cjohnson@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

When a man and woman checked into the Lockwood Holiday Inn in January 2011, the desk clerk knew something was off.

The clerk immediately recognized the driver’s license presented by the woman for identification as belonging to a friend, whose driver’s license had been stolen earlier.

The clerk called the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office. The complaint ultimately led to officers finding pure meth in the pair’s vehicle and to drug convictions in federal court.

Fabio Noel-Rodriguez, 35, of Watsonville, Calif., pleaded guilty Thursday to possession of meth with intent to distribute. Co-defendant Michelle Steinfeldt, 33, of Billings, pleaded guilty earlier to conspiracy to possess meth for distribution and is awaiting sentencing next month.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Fehr said the desk clerk provided deputies with a copy of the stolen driver’s license used for check-in and a room registration receipt showing that the pair had a vehicle with a Florida license plate.

A deputy drove through the parking lot looking for a Florida license plate and saw a vehicle with such a plate beginning to leave, Fehr said. The deputy pulled over the vehicle, which was driven by Noel-Rodriguez, and arrested him for driving without a driver’s license. Steinfeldt was a passenger.

Officers secured the car, and a drug-sniffing dog alerted for drug odors, Fehr said. After getting a search warrant, officers found two packages containing 266 grams of pure methamphetamine, four cellphones, $3,909 in cash, a digital scale with meth residue, plastic baggies and a laptop computer. The cash, drugs and scale were found in a hidden compartment in the vehicle, she said.

Noel-Rodriguez faces a minimum mandatory 10 years to life in prison and a possible $4 million fine. Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull set sentencing for June 19. Noel-Rodriguez remains in custody.

 

 

Copyright 2015 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More from the Gazette

Woman admits using high-heeled shoe in assault

Woman admits using high-heeled shoe in assault

January 23, 2015 3:11 pmLoading…
Woman charged with DUI No. 7

Woman charged with DUI No. 7

January 22, 2015 4:27 pmLoading…
Woman pleads guilty to lesser charge in assault case

Woman pleads guilty to lesser charge in assault case

January 22, 2015 10:47 am Photos

Photos

Loading…

Man charged with sexual intercourse without consent

January 21, 2015 7:00 pmLoading…
Washington man admits gun charge in Wal-Mart theft

Washington man admits gun charge in Wal-Mart theft

January 21, 2015 3:57 pmLoading…
Judge rejects plea agreement in Bakken meth conspiracy

Judge rejects plea agreement in Bakken meth conspiracy

January 21, 2015 3:29 pmLoading…

Billings man admits causing injuries while driving drunk

January 21, 2015 1:21 pmLoading…
Thieves steal camping gear from 2 Scout troops

Thieves steal camping gear from 2 Scout troops

January 20, 2015 4:30 pmLoading…

Woman charged with using brick to assault man in 2013

January 20, 2015 4:27 pmLoading…

Follow The Billings Gazette

Most Wanted

Most Wanted

Most Wanted

Wanted by United States Marshals Service Montana Violent Offender Task Force

January 19, 2015 12:00 amLoading…

Most wanted

Most wanted

Name: Christopher Knight

January 05, 2015 12:00 amLoading…

Crime Watch Map

Keep tabs on crime around the city. View Map

Billings Police Report

2013 Billings Police Department Annual Report. View Report

National crime statistics

Database: FBI hate crime statistics

Database: FBI hate crime statistics

Approximately 6,000 hate crimes motivated by gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability were reported to the FBI in 2013.

Database: US college and university crime statistics

Database: US college and university crime statistics

Compare how U.S. colleges and universities rank for various crimes reported to campus or local authorities in 2013.

Database: US homicide victims by age, gender and ethnicity

Database: US homicide victims by age, gender and ethnicity

View homicide statistics for 2013 based on age group, gender and ethnicity. Data is compiled annually by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UC…

Popular Stories

Get weekly ads via e-mail

Featured Businesses