Leila Ivernia Cookingham Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on December 29, 2010, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, LEILA IVERNIA COOKINGHAM, a 59-year-old resident of Billings, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Sentencing has been set for March 30, 2011. She is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Harper Suek, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
COOKINGHAM was involved in drug trafficking with George Morris, who was the leader of a drug organization that distributed methamphetamine on the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservations for a number of years. The investigation culminated in the seizure of money and methamphetamine on December 20, 2009.
Morris was charged and agreed to cooperate with the United States in investigating and prosecuting others involved with him in drug trafficking. He was interviewed by law enforcement. He told investigators that from December 2007 to December 2009, he distributed 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce of meth a "couple of times a month" to COOKINGHAM. Other cooperating witnesses have also identified COOKINGHAM as involved in drug trafficking with Morris. Surveillance and other investigative methods employed during the investigation of this case corroborate the information provided by Morris and others.
COOKINGHAM faces possible penalties of a minimum of five years up to forty years in prison, a $2,000,000 fine and at least 4 years supervised release.
The investigation was conducted by a cooperative effort between the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.