News and Press Releases

Celestia Diane Mixon and Ashley Wheeler Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on January 16, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, CELESTIA DIANE MIXON, age 20, and ASHLEY WHEELER, age 20, residents of Billings, appeared for sentencing.

MIXON and WHEELER were each sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 180 months
  • Special Assessment: $200
  • Supervised Release: 5 years

They were sentenced in connection with their guilty pleas to conspiracy to possess and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On February 21, 2006, law enforcement officers stopped WHEELER in the middle of the night on Grand Avenue in Billings. She was driving MIXON'S car. In the car were approximately 7.5 grams of methamphetamine and a Lorcin, Model L25, .25 caliber semiautomatic pistol.

On February 23, 2006, law enforcement visited MIXON and WHEELER at their residence in Billings. MIXON advised an agent that there was a gun in the apartment. The agent recovered a Hi-Standard, Model Sentinel R-100, .22 caliber revolver, with an obliterated serial number, after MIXON directed the agent to its location in a plastic container. MIXON stated that she had received the gun in a trade for half a gram of methamphetamine. MIXON also stated that she kept the gun to protect herself and WHEELER in their drug business.

A cooperating witness would have testified that in 2005, he, WHEELER and MIXON were supplied methamphetamine by a source which they in turn would then distribute. In December of 2005, the cooperating witness went with WHEELER and MIXON to Spokane to receive methamphetamine from a different source. They brought back two to three ounces at approximately $1,000 per ounce.

By 2006, the cooperating witness turned to WHEELER and MIXON as his source of supply. From January to May of 2006, the cooperating witness sold approximately an ounce of methamphetamine per week that he received from WHEELER and MIXON. He also dealt ecstasy that he received from WHEELER and MIXON. Some of the drug sales were to an undercover law enforcement agent.

The undercover agent would have testified that he purchased meth and ecstasy from the cooperating witness in Billings and observed WHEELER and MIXON on some of those transactions. The cooperating witness would have testified that the drugs he sold to the undercover agent were from WHEELER and MIXON.

Another witness would have testified that she lived with WHEELER and MIXON off and on when she was sixteen years old. From March of 2006 to May of 2006, the witness sold roughly two ounces of meth per week that she received from WHEELER and MIXON.

Another witness would have testified that she supplied WHEELER and MIXON with at least two pounds of methamphetamine in 2006.

Another witness would have testified that he supplied WHEELER and MIXON with at least a pound of methamphetamine in 2006, along with 500 ecstasy pills.

Testimony would have been presented that WHEELER threatened a fellow drug dealer with a handgun in late 2005 when she was seeking collateral on a drug debt. WHEELER also used a shotgun to threaten and intimidate a fellow female drug dealer in June of 2006. WHEELER was also present when MIXON used firearms to threaten other drug dealers, including a fellow female drug dealer in May of 2006 when that dealer failed to collect $700 on a drug transaction.

Testimony would have been presented that MIXON shot at fellow drug dealers in their car in December of 2005 in the middle of the night on Fourth Avenue while WHEELER was driving, to collect $900. MIXON also threatened a fellow female drug dealer in May of 2006 over $700 from a drug transaction. The $700 drug debt was eventually paid in a controlled transaction by a law enforcement agent posing as the victim/witness's father. It was paid to MIXON personally. MIXON and WHEELER later beat up the victim/witness in September of 2006 for her cooperation with law enforcement. MIXON was also present or involved in WHEELER'S use of firearms to threaten fellow drug dealers, including an incident in late 2005 and an incident in June 2006. Multiple witnesses would have testified that WHEELER and MIXON carried firearms during their drug dealing.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that they will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, they do have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric B. Wolff and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheila Kolar prosecuted the case for the United States.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Billings Police Department and the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office.



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