Jessica Rene Plant and Chance Justin Wilhelm Plead Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on January 20, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, JESSICA RENE PLANT, age 22, and CHANCE JUSTIN WILHELM, age 26, residents of Butte, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Sentencing has been set for April 28, 2011. WILHELM is currently detained and PLANT is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, the Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement Agency, and the Southwest Montana Drug Task Force began investigating a methamphetamine-trafficking organization in the Butte area in 2008. The organization is responsible for distributing approximately 20 pounds of meth in Silver Bow, Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, and Gallatin Counties.
PLANT's involvement in the conspiracy resulted from her relationship with Alex Fetters, who was the point of contact for the source of supply of methamphetamine in Arizona. PLANT lived with Fetters in Arizona during the conspiracy and shipped packages of methamphetamine to Anthony and Corrina Kerner in Butte. PLANT also traveled to and from Montana, usually with Fetters but on one occasion without him. She transported drugs from Arizona to Butte and money from Butte back to Arizona.
After Fetters was arrested in Arizona in January 2010, PLANT and Fetters attempted to convince law enforcement that Fetters could arrange to purchase a sizeable quantity of meth if he were released from custody. PLANT secured a cell phone with an Oregon area code and exchanged text messages with Fetters pretending to be a source of supply in that state. When the DEA and HSI agents discovered that the drug deal was a ruse and that PLANT was involved, they interviewed her over the telephone. During the interview she admitted that the drug deal was not legitimate and also admitted that she had shipped packages of meth from Arizona to Butte during the conspiracy. The government obtained documents from UPS and from Allegiant Airlines that corroborate both PLANT's admissions about her criminal conduct and the statements of her co-conspirators.
WILHELM's involvement in the conspiracy took place in both Arizona and Montana. In Arizona, WILHELM lived for a time with PLANT and Fetters, who was the point of contact for the source of supply of methamphetamine. WILHELM occasionally assisted Fetters in the transportation of meth from Arizona to Butte. When Fetters was arrested in Arizona in January 2010, WILHELM's Social Security card was seized from Fetters' residence.
In Butte, WILHELM operated as a street-level dealer. He received methamphetamine from Anthony Kerner and distributed the drugs in and around Butte. He also occasionally received packages of meth from Fetters in Arizona that were specifically designated for him.
WILHELM was implicated in the conspiracy by several of his co-conspirators and was interviewed twice by law enforcement officers. During his interviews, he admitted that he was involved with Fetters, Kerner, and others, corroborated many of the aspects of the operation that previously had been described to law enforcement, and acknowledged that the distribution of more than 500 grams of methamphetamine was reasonably foreseeable to him and within the scope of his agreement with the co-conspirators.
Alex Fetters, Anthony Kerner and Corrina Kerner pled guilty to federal charges and have been sentenced.
They each face possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and could be sentenced to life, a $4,000,000 fine and at least 5 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and the Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement Agency.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.