News and Press Releases

Benjamin William Wrightson Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on February 23, 2011, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, BENJAMIN WILLIAM WRIGHTSON, a resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. WRIGHTSON was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 1 day

Special Assessment: $100

Supervised Release: 4 years

WRIGHTSON was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph E. Thaggard, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

Between 2008 and the present date, law enforcement officers in Billings have investigated the trafficking of cocaine in Billings and Red Lodge.

In September 2008, DEA agents interviewed Matthew Lamonaca. Lamonaca admitted he had obtained large quantities of cocaine from Travis Henry and James Mack, two cocaine distributors in Denver, Colorado. Lamonaca admitted that he then distributed the cocaine in Billings. Lamonaca stated that, in August 2008, he paid WRIGHTSON to travel to Denver to pick up a kilogram of cocaine.

WRIGHTSON was later interviewed and admitted that he knew Lamonaca was a drug dealer. WRIGHTSON admitted that Lamonaca paid him $1,200 in approximately August of 2008 to travel to Denver and pick up a package from Mack. WRIGHTSON admitted, in effect, that he knew the package contained drugs or was aware of the high probability that the package contained drugs and deliberately avoided learning about the actual contents of the package.

Lamonaca, Henry and Mack all pled guilty to federal charges and have been sentenced.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that WRIGHTSON will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, WRIGHTSON does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation.



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