Richard James Biggs Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula on August 3, 2010, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, RICHARD JAMES BIGGS, a 31-year-old resident of Missoula, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute 100 kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of marijuana. Sentencing has been set for November 4, 2010. He is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara J. Elliott, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
In March, 2010, the Missoula High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force began investigating marijuana trafficking in the Missoula area.
On April 6, 2010, surveillance was established at BIGGS' residence in Missoula. A 2007 Chevy Avalanche registered to BIGGS was parked in the driveway. A person identified as C.L. was observed leaving BIGGS' residence carrying a large (20 gallon) Rubbermaid type storage bin. The bin was heavy enough that C.L. carried it with two hands. C.L. then placed the bin in his truck and drove it to his residence.
The next day, April 7, 2010, C.L. contacted a confidential source (CS) to inform him that he had marijuana for sale. In a post-arrest interview, C.L. admitted to transporting marijuana in these storage bins.
Subpoenaed airline records indicated that BIGGS had flown back and forth between Missoula and Las Vegas at least once a month since July 2008.
On April 11, 2010, video surveillance showed C.L. arriving at BIGGS' residence. A short time later, BIGGS arrived in his Chevy Avalanche and carried a large suitcase in the front door. A short time later, C.L. was observed leaving the residence with another Rubbermaid type storage bin. C.L. then drove to his own residence.
On May 4, 2010, surveillance observed C.L. picking BIGGS up at the Missoula airport after arriving from Las Vegas.
On May 4, 2010, a state warrant was authorized for the placement of a GPS tracking device on BIGGS' vehicle.
On May 6, 2010, BIGGS was observed leaving his residence and driving to a casino where he met V.H., who is a marijuana care giver. BIGGS then proceeded to I-90 and drove westbound.
On May 7, 2010, the GPS tracker showed BIGGS had arrived in the Trinidad and Arcata area of Northern California. This area is commonly known as the "Humbolt County" area and is one of the largest marijuana cultivation areas in the United States.
On May 12, 2010, BIGGS was stopped inear Huson as he was returning from Northern California. A search warrant had been secured for the vehicle. Discovered in the vehicle was approximately 72 pounds of (several varieties) marijuana and $39,000 in U.S. currency. A search warrant was also executed at BIGGS' residence in Missoula. Discovered in the basement were similar duffle bags to those found in BIGGS Chevy Avalanche and vacuum sealed 1 pound marijuana bags totaling 7 pounds.
Interviews of C.L. revealed that BIGGS had supplied him with more than 100 kilograms of marijuana since approximately July 2007 through May of 2010.
BIGGS 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 Drug Enforcement Administration and the Missoula High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.