News and Press Releases

Michelle Bell Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on May 6, 2010, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, MICHELLE BELL, a 37-old-year resident of Airway Heights, Washington, appeared for sentencing. She was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 37 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Supervised Release: 5 years

She was sentenced in connection with her guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

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, MICHELLE BELL's brother. 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.

Raymond Bell pled guilty to federal charges and is 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.

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



Return to Top

USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee

Training and seminars for Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Agencies.

Project Safe Childhood

Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children.