News and Press Releases

Deanna Rae Hamilton Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Missoula, on October 16, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, DEANNA RAE HAMILTON, a 41-year-old resident of Spokane, Washington, appeared for sentencing.

HAMILTON was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 60 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Supervised Release: 4 years

HAMILTON was sentenced in connection with her guilty plea 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 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.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that HAMILTON will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, HAMILTON 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 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.



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