For Immediate Release
White River Woman Sentenced for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine
United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a White River, South Dakota, woman convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine was sentenced on January 28, 2020, by Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange, U.S. District Court.
Andrea Ruth Barrera, age 32, was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison, followed by 4 years of supervised release, a $500 fine, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.
Barrera was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 16, 2019. She pled guilty on November 4, 2019.
The conviction stemmed from a conspiracy beginning on September 1, 2018, and continuing until July 16, 2019, wherein Barrera, knowingly and intentionally, combined, conspired, confederated, and agreed with others to knowingly and intentionally distribute and possess with intent to distribute over 50 grams of methamphetamine. On March 5, 2019, during the conspiracy, Barrera possessed a loaded handgun and approximately forty-one rounds of ammunition along with a small amount of methamphetamine and several items of drug paraphernalia near Mission, South Dakota.
Drug trafficking is an inherently violent activity. Firearms are tools of the trade for drug dealers. It is common to find drug traffickers armed with guns in order to protect their illegal drug product and cash, and enforce their illegal operations.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of its renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and local communities to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.
This case was investigated by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Northern Plains Safe Trails Drug Enforcement Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron J. Cook prosecuted the case.
Barrera was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.