Informational: Federal Court Arraignments
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in
Great Falls, on March 22, 2011, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong, the following individuals were arraigned:
WILSON DANIEL GHEE, a 60-year-old resident of Ohatchee, Alabama, appeared on a charge of violating the Lacey Act. He is currently released on special conditions. If convicted of this charge, GHEE faces possible penalties of 1 year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica A. Betley is the prosecutor for the United States. The investigation was a cooperative effort between U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
CHAD MICHAEL BARKER, a 29-year-old resident of Great Falls, appeared on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, and possession of a firearm during a drug-trafficking crime. He is currently detained. If convicted of these charges, BARKER 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. In addition, BARKER faces an additional mandatory five year imprisonment, consecutive to any other sentence, for possession of a firearm during a drug-trafficking crime. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara J. Elliott is the prosecutor for the United States. The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force.
The defendants pled not guilty to the charges.
The charge, an indictment, information or complaint, is merely an accusation and all persons named as defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. A pre-trial conference and a trial date will be set and the United States will be required to prove the allegations set forth in the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt.