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MISSOULA — Two Butte men who admitted to charges stemming from the illegal importation of two pill presses from China were sentenced this week, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

David Jesus Tapia-Padron, 34, was sentenced today to two years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Tapia-Padron pleaded guilty in November 2023 to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.

Co-defendant Austin Perry King-Terrell, 30, was sentenced on April 9 to three years of probation and fined $4,000. King-Terrell pleaded guilty in November 2023 to illegal importation of pill press.

U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided.

In court documents, the government alleged that in September 2022, two industrial tablet presses were illegally imported from China to the United States and addressed to a warehouse in Anaconda. The Drug Enforcement Administration intercepted the presses and then had them delivered. The DEA determined that King-Terrell had ordered the presses for Tapia-Padron and provided them to him. Each press was priced at $3,499 and could produce 4,500 to 6,000 pills an hour. Agents later searched Tapia-Padron’s residence and found large quantities of marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms and a vacuum sealed package containing one kilogram of cocaine. Agents also located distribution paraphernalia, a money counter, money bands, several handguns and rifles, a mannequin wearing body armor and other items. Five days before agents searched his house, Tapia-Padron, using his mother’s name, ordered 50 kilograms of baby blue tabling mix to be shipped to him from California. In addition, the investigation determined that Tapia-Padron paid King-Terrell to buy what King-Terrell referred to as a “kief press.” Kief is a concentrated form of marijuana. Tapia-Padron regularly sold King-Terrell marijuana and offered him psilocybin mushrooms.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Karla E. Painter prosecuted the case. The DEA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation.