Daniel Lyn Bennett and Donovan Wayne Dehnel Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Missoula, on September 21, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, DANIEL LYN BENNETT, age 49, and DONOVAN WAYNE DEHNEL, age 35, residents of the Spokane, Washington area appeared for sentencing.
BENNETT was sentenced to a term of:
- Prison: 200 months
- Special Assessment: $100
- Supervised Release: 5 years
DEHNEL was sentenced to a term of:
- Prison: 24 months
- Special Assessment: $100
- Supervised Release: 3 years
They were sentenced in connection with their guilty pleas to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
During 2007, Jamie Lake, Justin Hessler, Scott Shirley and BENNETT 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 Hessler, Shirley 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, Hessler, Fraleigh, Shirley 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, Hessler and Shirley 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.
Lake, Hessler and Fraleigh pled guilty to federal charges. Fraleigh has been sentenced and Lake, Hessler, and Shirley are awaiting sentencing.
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 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.