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Raymond Bell and Michelle Bell Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula on January 21, 2010, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, RAYMOND BELL, age 33, and MICHELLE BELL, age 37, residents of Airway Heights, Washington, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Sentencing is set for May 6, 2010. They are 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 December 6, 2008, agents with the Missouri River Drug Task Force (MRDTF) monitored a telephone call between a cooperating person (CP) and RAYMOND BELL. RAYMOND agreed to sell the informant 1.5 ounces (about 40 grams) of methamphetamine for $2,000, which was then sent to RAYMOND by Moneygram.

On December 7, 2008, MRDTF monitored a phone call between RAYMOND and the CP during which RAYMOND advised that his sister, MICHELLE BELL, would deliver the methamphetamine. MICHELLE met the CP in Missoula. During the exchange, MICHELLE called RAYMOND and was told that there was some methamphetamine set aside for her inside the scale. The CP then weighed the methamphetamine in the presence of MICHELLE. It weighed 23.85 grams, somewhat short of the agreed upon 40 grams. The CP told MICHELLE to call RAYMOND and inform him the package was short.

On December 9, 2008, MRDTF, through the CP, issued MICHELLE a Moneygram for $2,800 for the purchase of more methamphetamine.

On December 10, 2008, MICHELLE left from Spokane, Washington, to deliver the methamphetamine. MICHELLE stopped in Missoula and then continued to Helena. During a traffic stop conducted by Helena Police Department officers, MICHELLE gave verbal and written consent to search her vehicle. Officers found a lockbox behind the seat, to which MICHELLE provided the key. Inside the lockbox, officers recovered two plastic bags containing methamphetamine. MICHELLE then gave a statement. She stated that her brother, RAYMOND, had taken the money from the Moneygram issued to her to purchase methamphetamine from two different sources. MICHELLE then transported the methamphetamine to Montana for him.

The total amount of drugs involved in this case was approximately 80 grams of a mixture containing methamphetamine.

They each face possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and could be sentenced to 40 years, a $2,000,000 fine and at least 4 years supervised release.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Missouri River Drug Task Force.

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

 

 

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