News and Press Releases

James Pakootas Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Friday, January 21, 2011

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on January 21, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, JAMES PAKOOTAS, a 27-year-old resident of Nespelem, Washington, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Sentencing has been set for April 29, 2011. 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:

On February 5, 2010, law enforcement officers stopped a vehicle that was traveling on I-90 between Huson and Frenchtown. The registered owner and driver was J.R., who gave signed consent to search his vehicle. A search of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of approximately 145 grams of cocaine. The cocaine was hidden in a compartment located in the center of the rear passenger seats. PAKOOTAS was one of the two occupants of the rear seat of the vehicle.

Upon further investigation, it was determined that PAKOOTAS was involved in the distribution of cocaine from approximately November 2009 through February of 2010. Various witnesses would have testified that PAKOOTAS was responsible during this time frame for the distribution of more than 500 grams of cocaine in and around Missoula and Mineral Counties.

PAKOOTAS faces possible penalties of a minimum of five years up to forty years in prison, a $2,000,000 fine and four years supervised release.

The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.



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