Ralph Nels Laverdure and Carmen Ann Laverdure Plead Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Great Falls on January 7, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, RALPH NELS LAVERDURE, age 61, and CARMEN ANN LAVERDURE, age 56, residents of Great Falls, pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine. Sentencing is set for April 9, 2009. They are currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On August 15, 2008, the Great Falls Police Department received a telephone call from an inmate at the Cascade County Detention Center, regarding methamphetamine trafficking by the LAVERDURES. When later interviewed, the inmate stated over the past three months, he had obtained approximately one-half ounce of methamphetamine from the LAVERDURES. He stated he purchased the methamphetamine in .25 gram paper bindles. The inmate stated CARMEN LAVERDURE weighed-out and prepared the paper bindles of methamphetamine, as well as controlled the money after the sale of the narcotics. The inmate also stated he had smoked the methamphetamine with both LAVERDURES at their residence and had observed RALPH LAVERDURE attempting to make a methamphetamine pipe from a cigar tube.
Other individuals, who have admitted to being involved in drug trafficking in the Great Falls area, have previously been interviewed and indicated they had purchased methamphetamine from RALPH LAVERDURE since 2005.
On August 21, 2008, agents executed a search warrant on the LAVERDURE home. At that time, they seized thirty bindles of methamphetamine with a combined weight of 83.1 grams (including package weight), $852.45 in cash, four methamphetamine pipes and a syringe.
Agents attempted to interview RALPH LAVERDURE but he requested an attorney. However, CARMEN LAVERDURE stated that she and RALPH LAVERDURE were both users of meth, and that RALPH LAVERDURE sold meth and would sometimes give her the money to hold. She admitted that she would make 175-200 paper bindles of methamphetamine, weighing approximately .125 grams each. CARMEN LAVERDURE admitted RALPH LAVERDURE provided her with at least six plastic baggies of methamphetamine which totaled approximately 126-300 grams.
Interviews of witnesses disclosed that the LAVERDURES trafficked in well over a kilo (1,000 grams) of methamphetamine over the last five years.
Each face possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and could be sentenced to 40 years, a $2,000,000 fine and 4 years supervised release.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl E. Rostad prosecuted the case for the United States.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Central Montana Drug Task Force.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.