Billy Joe Thorne Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Helena on September 25, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Charles C. Lovell, BILLY JOE THORNE, a 46-year-old resident of Garrison, pled guilty to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana. Sentencing is set for January 7, 2010. He is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette L. Stewart, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On or about October 8, 2008, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant in Garrison, Montana. The officers were looking for and found a marijuana growing operation in Garrison. The marijuana grow consisted of three greenhouses that contained just over 200 full-grown marijuana plants.
Officers interviewed THORNE. THORNE stated that he owned the property. THORNE admitted to growing marijuana in the three greenhouses. The marijuana came from an individual and California. He also said that the marijuana grow was about three weeks from harvest. THORNE stated that most of the 2007 marijuana was stolen when he took a trip back home to Mississippi. He was able to distribute some of the 2007 marijuana.
Officers took photographs of the marijuana grow operation during their execution of the search warrant. They also took samples of the marijuana and shipped those samples to the DEA laboratory in San Francisco. Laboratory analysis confirmed that the plants were marijuana.
THORNE faces possible penalties of 40 years in prison, a $2,000,000 fine and 4 years supervised release.
The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.