News and Press Releases

Deanna Rae Hamilton Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Missoula on June 17, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, DEANNA RAE HAMILTON, a 41-year-old resident of Spokane, Washington, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Sentencing is set for October 16, 2009. She is currently detained.

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

During 2007, Jamie Lane Lake, Daniel Lyn Bennett, Scott Allen Shirley and Justin Bradford 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.

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.

HAMILTON provided rental cars to Lake to make drug runs between Kalispell and Spokane. HAMILTON also made some drug runs between Kalispell and Spokane. At times, HAMILTON had picked up methamphetamine from Lake at the Kalispell trailer. In total, HAMILTON moved approximately five ounces of methamphetamine for Lake in the Kalispell area.

Lake, Bennett, Shirley, Hessler and Fraleigh pled guilty to federal charges and are awaiting sentencing.

HAMILTON faces 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 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, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and The Montana Division of Criminal Investigation/Narcotics Investigation Bureau.

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



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