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Anthony John Kerner Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 03, 2010

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on June 3, 2010, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, ANTHONY JOHN KERNER, a 44-year-old resident of Butte, appeared for sentencing.

In Cause No. 09-27-BU-DWM, KERNER was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine to a term of:

  • Prison: 204 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Supervised Release: 10 years

In Cause No. 09-28-BU-DWM, KERNER was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to theft of government property to a term of:

  • Prison: 24 months
  • Special Assessment: $100

Restitution: $13,172.57

  • Supervised Release: 10 years

Sentences will run concurrently.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot in Cause No. 09-27-BU-DWM, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement Agency, and the Southwest Montana Drug Task Force have been investigating a methamphetamine-trafficking organization in the Butte area since 2008. The organization is responsible for distributing pounds of meth in Silver Bow, Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, and Gallatin Counties.

On October 8, 2009, KERNER bonded Moriah Beckman, one of his co-conspirators, out of the Jefferson County Detention Center in Boulder. KERNER and Beckman then drove to Montana City to sell three ounces of methamphetamine to a confidential informant. Before the deal transpired, KERNER and Beckman were stopped and arrested. Officers searched the vehicle they were driving and seized six ounces of meth. That same night, officers searched KERNER's house in Butte and seized more than 600 grams of methamphetamine.

KERNER was interviewed on October 8th and October 13, 2009. During those interviews, he admitted his involvement in the conspiracy. He described his role in the organization and estimated that he had received and distributed at least eight pounds of methamphetamine from April to October 2009.

Beckman pled guilty to federal charges and has been sentenced.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement Agency, and the Southwest Montana Drug Task Force.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot in Cause No. 09-28-BU-DWM, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On August 18, 2009, KERNER and another person broke into the Beal Mountain Reclamation Facility in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. A Forest Service employee and an employee of Tetra Tech, the company performing the reclamation at the mine, encountered KERNER and the other person leaving the mine site. KERNER's pickup was loaded with property, some of which belonged to Tetra Tech and some of which belonged to the Forest Service. Among the items in KERNER's truck were a Polaris ATV (Tetra Tech property), generators (government property), pumps, electrical panels and cables, buckets of bolts, and pump assemblies.

KERNER and his accomplice gave false names to the Forest Service and Tetra Tech employees and KERNER said he was at the facility to pick up scrap metal that he had purchased from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality at an auction in 2008. The employees told KERNER that he had to unload the truck, which he did, and they recognized many items of property that were not part of the DEQ auction.

After KERNER left the area, the Tetra Tech employee surveyed the damage to the facility. The pump that operated an overflow treated water tank had been damaged, a large electrical line had been cut, and a transducer had been removed, which caused the plant to shut down in order to control the contaminated water. Interior and exterior locked doors were damaged, windows were broken, and numerous items of property were moved, damaged or missing.

On August 19, 2009, the Forest Service employee and the Tetra Tech employee went to the Butte police station to review photos in an attempt to identify the suspects. The male suspect was identified as KERNER.

Also on August 19, 2009, law enforcement learned that the Beal Mountain Facility had again been breached, and the Polaris ATV and one of the generators had again been stolen. The facility's gates had also been damaged. Later interviews revealed that KERNER participated in the August 19th break-in as well as the August 18th break-in. He attempted to trade the Polaris ATV and the generator to other residents of Butte.

The government property that was stolen or damaged has a value in excess of $1,000.

The investigation was conducted by the Law Enforcement and Investigations Division of the U.S. Forest Service.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that KERNER will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, KERNER does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

 

 

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