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James F. Battin Federal Courthouse

James F. Battin Federal Courthouse

A Laurel couple this week admitted they were part of a large meth trafficking ring in which they stored meth at their house for re-distribution and gave co-conspirators a place to stay.

Raymond Edward Schacht, 57, and Jeanette Lambert Schacht, 55, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute meth as part of plea deals to dismiss other counts.

The couple also are expected to forfeit their house, which was used in the conspiracy, at 602 West Maryland Lane, under the terms of a forfeiture count.

Raymond Schacht appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Cavan on Monday, while Jeanette Schacht pleaded guilty on Tuesday. Jeanette Schacht told the judge she is now divorced.

Prosecutors said the couple were part of a large conspiracy in which multiple-pound quantities of meth were being brought to Billings from San Jose, California, for redistribution.

A dozen or more people have been charged in the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Suek said in court records that Billings drug task force members began investigating a meth trafficking organization in 2015 in which meth was coming from San Jose to Billings.

Investigators, through informants, other sources of information and surveillance, confirmed that at least one, and possibly three, Hispanic men were “renting” space and living at the Schacht home in Laurel.

At least 10 informants, sources and co-defendants confirmed that accused co-conspirator Victor Rivera stayed at the Schachts' home when in Montana, Suek said. Rivera, of Mexico, later identified as Victor Miguel Rivera-Munoz, is awaiting trial on drug charges.

Several of the informants were with Rivera at the Schachts’ home and saw multiple-pound quantities of meth and numerous firearms, Suek said.

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Rivera was arrested on Feb. 18, 2016, for having a concealed handgun on him while at the Quik Spa in Billings. The vehicle he had when he was arrested had been rented by the Schachts. Rivera also made jail phone calls, which are recorded, to both Ed and Jeanette Schacht.

In addition, photographs on the Facebook page of another co-conspirator, Kevin Torres-Ocho, show him in the Schachts’ residence. Torres-Ocho, who was convicted in a meth conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing, admitted to working with a drug group in San Jose and to receiving five to six one-pound packages of meth to deliver to others.

The Schachts face a minimum mandatory 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine.

Cavan said he would recommend U.S. District Judge Susan Watters accept the guilty pleas. Watters will set sentencing dates. The couple remain on release pending sentencing.

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Federal Court, Yellowtone County Reporter

Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.