A Lockwood woman accused of trafficking meth as part of a larger drug conspiracy admitted federal charges on Wednesday.

Tomi Leah Gray, 47, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess meth with intent to distribute during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Susan Watters of Billings. A plea agreement calls for four other counts to be dismissed at sentencing.

Gray is the third of nine defendants indicted in the case to plead guilty. Co-defendants Christina Kamran-Kohnjani and Sadey Kust-Myers also have admitted charges.

The case is the result of work by state and federal drug task forces that began investigating a meth ring in Yellowstone County in 2015. One of the suspects, Victor Rivera, and associates were bringing multi-pound quantities of meth from California to Montana for redistribution, prosecutors said.

Rivera, of Mexico, later identified as Victor Miguel Rivera-Munoz, was convicted separately of being a felon in possession of a firearm and sentenced last November to 21 months in prison. He also faces deportation for being in the country illegally.

At Gray’s hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Suek said Billings police officers arrested a person, identified as J.N., on outstanding warrants in June 2015 and found meth and three firearms in his vehicle. J.N. told agents he got the meth from Gray and that she had been supplying him for the previous eight months. J.N. would buy the meth for $1,600 an ounce from Gray, who stored the drug at the home of her ex-husband, J.H., in Lockwood.

In a subsequent interview with agents in early 2016, J.N. said Gray got meth from Mexican cartel members but owed the cartel $15,000 and was not currently getting meth from them. J.N. also said Gray’s ex-husband also was getting meth from cartel members, Suek said.

On three occasions in February and March 2016, agents used an informant to buy meth from Gray, Suek said.

Agents later served a search warrant at J.H.’s residence in Lockwood and seized meth, firearms, money and drug paraphernalia, Suek said.

Gray disputed the length of time she supplied J.N., the price of the meth and said she got meth indirectly from the Mexican cartel.

Watters said she would set sentencing for later in August. Gray remains in custody. Gray faces a minimum mandatory 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine.

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Federal Court, Yellowtone County Reporter

Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.