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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of South Dakota
Alison J. Ramsdell, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Obregon, Mexico Man Sentenced for Drug Trafficking

RAPID CITY - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced that U.S. District Judge Jeffrey L. Viken has sentenced an Obregon, Mexico, man convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance. The sentencing took place on December 15, 2022.

Noel Rivera, 44, was sentenced to 17.5 years in federal prison, followed by five years supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Rivera was indicted for Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance by a federal grand jury in August of 2021. He pleaded guilty on April 25, 2022.

As part of his role within the drug trafficking organization, Rivera coordinated with other co-conspirators and would transport large quantities of methamphetamine from Arizona and other places outside of South Dakota into South Dakota. Rivera also coordinated with others regarding the storage and distribution of the methamphetamine once it arrived in South Dakota. The conspiracy lasted more than a year’s time frame. In August of 2021, agents conducted a search warrant of multiple locations in the Rapid City area tied to the conspiracy and located over 70 pounds of methamphetamine, multiple pounds of heroin and cocaine, as well as thousands of fentanyl pills, approximately $144,000, and thirteen firearms. One co-conspirator has pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance and is awaiting sentencing. The second co-conspirator is awaiting trial.

This case was investigated by the Unified Narcotics Enforcement Team (UNET), Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. UNET is comprised of law enforcement from the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Rapid City Police Department, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, South Dakota Highway Patrol, and the South Dakota National Guard. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gina Nelson prosecuted the case.

Rivera was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.


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