News and Press Releases

Zachary Sylvester Willis Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Missoula, on January 29, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, ZACHARY SYLVESTER WILLIS, a 27-year-old resident of Missoula, appeared for sentencing. WILLIS was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 30 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Supervised Release: 3 years

WILLIS was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and oxycontin.

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

Between May of 2006 through April of 2007, WILLIS received ounce quantities of cocaine from Steven James Olsen for distribution in the Bozeman area. WILLIS also received oxycontin tablets - through the mail from an out-of-state source - for distribution in the Bozeman area.

Olsen supplied WILLIS with approximately seven ounces of cocaine on three separate occasions. The first transaction involved one ounce of cocaine. The second transaction involved four ounces, and the third deal was for two ounces. WILLIS did not pay Olsen for the four-ounce deal because most of that cocaine was seized by law enforcement during a search of an apartment where WILLIS lived with his girlfriend. On February 14, 2007, law enforcement had responded to WILLIS' apartment in Bozeman concerning an unrelated incident. During the investigation into that incident, the officers found and seized approximately 93 grams (about 3 ounces) of cocaine. That cocaine had been supplied to WILLIS by Olsen.

WILLIS also possessed and distributed oxycontin tablets in the Bozeman area. Olsen witnessed WILLIS trade 45 oxy pills to an individual in exchange for a television set in late April or early May of 2006. This individual ingested several of the pills and sold the others. On a later occasion, Olsen purchased four oxycontin tablets from WILLIS for another individual.

Olsen pled guilty to federal charges and has been sentenced.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that WILLIS will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, WILLIS does 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 Timothy J. Racicot prosecuted the case for the United States.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Missouri River Drug Task Force.



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