News and Press Releases

Leila Ivernia Cookingham Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on March 30, 2011, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, LEILA IVERNIA COOKINGHAM, a 59-year-old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. COOKINGHAM was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 48 months

Special Assessment: $100

Supervised Release: 5 years

COOKINGHAM was sentenced in connection with her guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

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.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that COOKINGHAM will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, COOKINGHAM 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 conducted by a cooperative effort between the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.



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