HomeBillings NewsMethamphetamine trafficking leads to five-year sentence for Crow Agency man

Methamphetamine trafficking leads to five-year sentence for Crow Agency man

Billings, Montana – In a significant development in the fight against drug trafficking, a Crow Agency man, Jeffrey Prettypaint, was sentenced to five years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for his involvement in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy. U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich announced the sentencing, underscoring the gravity of the offense.

A Multi-State Conspiracy

Jeffrey Prettypaint, 30, pleaded guilty in September 2023 to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided over the case, allowing Prettypaint to self-surrender to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. This case marks another instance in a series of similar charges leading to prison sentences, reflecting the ongoing battle against methamphetamine distribution.

The case against Prettypaint stemmed from a coordinated effort by federal, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. They investigated a large-scale narcotics trafficking organization spanning multiple states, originating from the Crow Indian Reservation. This organization was not only a significant source of meth for the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Reservations but also impacted the Billings community, operating from January 2022 to March 2023.

Prettypaint was identified as a mid-level figure in this organized conspiracy. Government allegations revealed that he was in direct communication with higher-ups in the distribution network. He had access to Spear Siding and other properties integral to the meth distribution.

Incriminating Communications

In February 2023, Prettypaint sent a revealing text message to a main supplier, indicating the scale of their operations:

“…we picked up 3oz this morning but we need 4oz, Hahaha, ask [co-conspirator] if he can tip me hahaha 3+3+4=10 zips in 5 days, and Tell [co-conspirator 2] may I please have an Xmas bonus or some crystal tips. Pretty sure [co-conspirator 3] n I clesring [sic] a quarter pound a day not. Everyone coming to us.”

His knowledge extended to a “safe house” where meth and fentanyl were available. In September 2022, he informed an individual that a pound of meth could be bought for $6,000 from Spear Siding, leading to a purchase of a half-pound for $3,000.

Prettypaint’s role was more than just a distributor; he advised on improving sales and expanding the network. He suggested using cash apps and expanding to other locations to a top co-conspirator.

Broader Implications and Efforts

This case is a part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a nationwide initiative to reduce violent crime and gun violence. Launched on May 26, 2021, PSN’s strategy focuses on fostering trust in communities, supporting violence prevention organizations, setting targeted enforcement priorities, and measuring outcomes.

The prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the investigation led by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Drug Enforcement Administration, and FBI highlight a collaborative effort to dismantle such drug trafficking networks. This case underscores the challenges law enforcement faces and the importance of multi-agency cooperation in combating the scourge of methamphetamine trafficking in the United States.

Mia White

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