Amber Marie Bear Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls on July 15, 2010, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, AMBER MARIE BEAR, a 38-year-old resident of Harlem, pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine. Sentencing has been set for October 25, 2010. She is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl E. Rostad, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
In the early morning hours of September 5, 2009, AMBER BEAR was stopped by Fort Belknap Tribal Police for running a stop sign. One of her three passengers was identified as W.B. During the stop, officers noticed an open can of beer, which is a violation of tribal law, and detained the two male passengers sitting in the back seat. Officers then asked for and received consent from AMBER BEAR to search her vehicle. During the search, they found drug paraphernalia. The two females were also detained and transported to the Fort Belknap Police Department.
While visible from a surveillance camera at the police department, AMBER BEAR was observed by a female officer reaching into W.B.'s bra and retrieving something. After the males were searched, female officers conducted searches of AMBER BEAR and W.B. Nine plastic bags of a white powdery substance were found in body cavities, as well as three plastic tubes containing suspected methamphetamine residue in a purse belonging to W.B. AMBER BEAR was later given medical treatment on suspicion that she may have also swallowed methamphetamine.
Later that day, law enforcement conducted a search of the home of AMBER BEAR's mother, M.B., based on information provided by AMBER BEAR that there were drugs and drug related evidence at that residence. Upon obtaining consent to search, officers found approximately 5 grams of methamphetamine in separate packages. Officers also found marijuana pipes, marijuana and marijuana seeds, needles, crushed pharmaceuticals, cash, a spoon and a knife with drug residue, and other evidence of drug use and trafficking.
M.B., AMBER BEAR, and D.B. all admitted their long involvement in the methamphetamine trade. All identified W.B. as their primary, although not necessarily exclusive, source of supply for methamphetamine. AMBER BEAR indicated that W.B. had been bringing methamphetamine to the reservation from Seattle once or twice a month, and dealing to customers on Fort Belknap, from the time she, W.B., got out of federal prison in the summer of 2008. W.B. used D.B., AMBER BEAR, and M.B. as sub-distributors and all would share in the profits of the business. AMBER BEAR, who described the activity as a "family business," indicated that she had been dealing drugs for as long as she could remember. She also indicated that W.B. was one of two sources of her drug supply. M.B. admitted to using her home as a staging area for the distribution of drugs on Fort Belknap and distributing drugs supplied by W.B. to pay the bills.
BEAR faces 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 the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Tri-Agency Safe Trails Task Force, and the Fort Belknap Tribal Police.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.