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Jamie Lane Lake, Daniel Lyn Bennett, Scott Allen Shirley, Justin Bradford Hessler

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 19, 2009

DONOVAN WAYNE DEHNEL PLEAD GUILTY IN U.S. FEDERAL COURT

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Missoula on May 15, 2009, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, JAMIE LANE LAKE, age 34, DANIEL LYN BENNETT, age 49, and DONOVAN WAYNE DEHNEL, age 35, residents of the Spokane, Washington area, and SCOTT ALLEN SHIRLEY, age 38, and JUSTIN BRADFORD HESSLER, age 29, residents of Kalispell, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Sentencing is set for September 24, 2009, for DEHNEL and SHIRLEY and September 25, 2009, for LAKE, BENNETT, HESSLER.

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

During 2007, LAKE, BENNETT, SHIRLEY and HESSLER moved numerous pounds of methamphetamine from Spokane, Washington, to Montana, primarily in Flathead and Lincoln Counties. LAKE, who was from the Spokane area, was the primary source of supply. LAKE then distributed methamphetamine to SHIRLEY, HESSLER and Christopher Fraleigh. BENNETT was used by LAKE for security and enforcement.

The group initially moved ounce quantities and graduated to pound quantities before dismantling. They used rental cars to transport the methamphetamine, motel rooms as meeting places, and used runners at times to transport the methamphetamine.

Specifically, LAKE, along with SHIRLEY and two cooperating witnesses, trafficked the methamphetamine from Spokane to Kalispell by vehicle. BENNETT would ride with LAKE as security on these drug runs.

Fraleigh's Kalispell trailer was used as a meeting and dealing location. Ultimately, LAKE rented the trailer and used it as a drug house. LAKE, SHIRLEY, HESSLER, Fraleigh and others met at the trailer for drug transactions. BENNETT worked as security at the trailer.

DEHNEL received some methamphetamine through this group. DEHNEL'S main connection to this group was through his girlfriend. He went with his girlfriend to the Kalispell trailer used by this group for drug transactions. DEHNEL used and sold gram quantities of methamphetamine.

LAKE, SHIRLEY and HESSLER have admitted their involvement in the conspiracy. LAKE admitted to obtaining methamphetamine in the Spokane area and selling it in the Kalispell area, or providing it to individuals who then transported the methamphetamine to Kalispell. He also admitted that he used BENNETT for security purposes.

SHIRLEY admitted selling methamphetamine for LAKE. He described getting into debt to LAKE and having a car taken from him to pay part of the owed debt. SHIRLEY was also ordered to collect money from people who owed him to pay back LAKE.

HESSLER admitted to receiving and selling LAKE methamphetamine through other cooperating individuals. He also admitted he went to the Kalispell trailer on occasion to receive methamphetamine. He further admitted to wiring money from Montana to LAKE in Spokane. HESSLER also admitted he participated in a drug run to Spokane where methamphetamine was obtained from LAKE at the Red Lion Hotel.

Fraleigh pled guilty to federal charges and is awaiting sentencing.

They each face possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and could be sentenced to life, a $4,000,000 fine and 5 years supervised release.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette L. Stewart prosecuted the case for the United States.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Northwest Montana Drug Task Force and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.

 

 

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